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Home » Retirement Planning

How to Get your Social Security Statement Online (& why you Should Check it Annually)

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Ever wonder what happened to those nifty Social Security statements we all used to get in the mail?

I did too. I received my Social Security statement in 2011, but wondered why I hadn’t in 2012.

It turns out that the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped sending paper statements in early 2011, in a cost cutting move (to save over $70 million annually). I must have missed that memo.

To replace the paper statements, in May, a new SSA website was launched that allows you to access your Social Security statement online.

social security statement online

To retrieve your Social Security statement online, the process is pretty simple:

  1. Go to the new Social Security statement website.
  2. Create a login. You will have to answer a number of security questions to verify your identity, including some information included on your Experian credit report.
  3. View your statement.

The SSA has apparently beefed up what is included in the statement from what was originally there a few months ago. You can now find:

  • Estimates of the retirement and disability benefits you may receive, based on when you retire
  • Estimates of benefits your family may get when you receive Social Security or die
  • A list of your lifetime earnings according to Social Security’s records
  • The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid
  • Information about qualifying and signing up for Medicare
  • The opportunity to apply online for retirement and disability benefits
  • An option to print or save your full Social Security Statement

Why Bother Accessing your Social Security Statement Online?

  1. Remedy errors: Much like with free credit reports, you should check your social security statement annually to make sure the correct earning totals are reported. If your earnings are under-reported, you will receive less than you paid in when you do start claiming. If your earnings are reported incorrectly, call 1-800-772-1213 to report the error.
  2. Get an Overview of your Earnings: The greatest benefit of Social Security Statements, in my opinion, is being able to see your historical earnings. This is represented by the “Taxed Medicare Earnings” column, if you’ve earned over $106,800 in a given year (the max amount you can be taxed on).
  3. Get an Idea of what Might be there in Retirement (and then get let down, many years later): Without an overhaul, Social Security benefits will be under-funded for most Gen X and Gen Y’ers. You can get a good idea of what kind of benefits you may receive in retirement, but the reality is you probably will not get all of it. Social Security payouts should be looked at as bonus retirement money only, but they are still a piece of the long-term retirement puzzle for many people.

Important Note on Social Security Statement Earnings Estimates: your earnings are based on the top 35 years of earnings. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at zero. You can increase your benefit by replacing those zero years, say, by working longer, even if it’s just part-time. No low-earning year will replace a higher-earning year. The benefit isn’t based on 35 consecutive years of work, but the highest-earning 35 years.

It’s been reported that the Social Security Administration has started mailing paper statements to those over age 60 once again (turns out the interwebs was too complicated for some older folk). They will also begin mailing statements to citizens in the year they turn age 25.

Social Security Statement Discussion:

  • Have you viewed your Social Security Statement Online yet?
  • Do you miss the paper statements for any reason?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


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