Social Security administrators suggest you should checking your earnings report, regularly.
The annual statements that used to be mailed out to all taxpayers were scaled back several years ago in an effort to save costs. According to Jack Myers, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration, individuals can and should check their earnings report regularly for earnings accuracy. “It’s something for people to take a look at it. For young people at least 18 years of age, they can gather that information by creating an account on My Social Security Account on the socialsecrutity.gov website. Then, you can take a look at your earnings history on an annual basis. When it comes to what you’ll one day get, the amount that social security pays out to you is calculated on the basis of the accuracy of your earnings report.”
You’ll receive a statement in the mail once every five years from age 25 to 60, then annually until you start receiving benefits. The statements are mailed three months before your birthday.
Myers says that people pay an important role in the accuracy of their earnings report, either by verification of what their employer has reported or by what they have reported themselves if they are self-employed.
Myers said you can get a benefit estimate anytime online with a My Social Security account.
During the registration process, users will be asked questions about themselves to verify that they are the right person. Myers said the questions are designed to be personal for verification accuracy. The questions are pulled from information in your credit file so that in the event a social security number is stolen, the thief cannot create the account falsely. The questions are confidential and have no effect on your credit file or credit scoring.
Myers said that if people have trouble answering the questions, a back up option is to obtain a verification code from a Social Security office. Individuals visiting the office must have a current drivers license or state ID for verification. Myers said most people do not have trouble with the questions, and encourages folks to try the online account creation process.
Once you have your account set up, Myers says you can look at estimates of your future benefits, request a replacement Social Security Card in most cases, and a lot of other features that come available when you begin collecting benefits. Myers says the most important benefit is having the earnings properly reported so that discrepancies can be fixed and reported in a timely manner so they do not disrupt benefits in the future.
To create an account, go to www.ssa.gov