Social Security Administration Offers Online Access to Earnings and Benefits Statements
Planning for retirement without considering Social Security payments is a recipe for disaster. But that’s the exact predicament small business owners and their employees were in until very recently.
In April 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped mailing annual earnings and benefits statements entirely. This decision made it difficult for Social Security contributors to verify their Social Security contributions and view estimated payments they might receive based on their projected retirement date. As of February 2012, the SSA has resumed statement mailings to workers 60 and over not currently collecting benefits. But rather than waiting for postal mail—or, if you’re under age, until you turn 60—you can now access your statements 24/7.
Beginning on May 1, 2012, the SSA launched the aptly named Statement, an online earnings and benefits statements section of its website available at www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement. To date, more than a million Americans have viewed their Social Security statements on Statement. From this website, you can review your Social Security contributions and expected benefits, including estimates of:
- retirement and disability benefits you may receive
- benefits your family may expect when you receive Social Security or die
- Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid
To aid in your financial and retirement planning process, you can also access retirement preparation suggestions and apply for retirement and disability benefits.
Accessing Your Social Security Statements
Before you can view your earnings and benefits statements, you must create an account on Statement. Registration requires:
- a valid email address
- a Social Security number
- a U.S. mailing address
- a minimum age of 18
Considering the highly sensitive information you will be sending and verifying during the account-creation process, do not use an unsecured wireless connection.
Depending upon the level of security you want associated with your account, you will have to submit information from your financial records. Be sure to have one of the following on hand:
- a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover)
- W-2s from within the last five years
- 1040 Schedule SE forms from within the last five years
- the last direct deposit amount from you Social Security benefits
During the account-creation process, you must answer a series of questions designed to verify your identity, such as confirming or denying information about loans you’ve taken, vehicles you’ve owned or places you’ve lived. These identity verification questions are similar to procedures credit score websites use.
For increased security, you can request the SSA to send you a text message any time your account has been accessed. If you add this optional security feature, check your postal mail for additional instructions. This service cannot be activated without the information contained in this mailing; however, you can access your Statement account before activating the text messaging component.
Once your account has been created and you log in, you will find “Estimated Benefits” and “Earnings Record” links under the “My Home” tab.
Be sure to check your account every few years to ensure the SSA’s record are error-free and your financial plan is on track.