Checking Your Social Security Earnings Record

A step by step guide

checking social security earnings record online

How confident are you that your Social Security earnings record is accurate?

Unless you’ve checked it recently, you shouldn’t be too sure.

Mistakes in an individual’s Social Security earnings record are actually much more common than most people think. In tax year 2012 alone, the Social Security Administration reported $71 billion in wages that could not be matched to an individuals earnings record! The good news is that the Social Security Administration has a system for sorting out some of these mistakes and assigning the earnings to the correct record. But nearly half of the mismatches are never corrected. That means that in 2012 there were approximately $35 billion in wages that was never credited to an individual’s Social Security history.

Why A Social Security Earnings Record Mistake Matters

A mistake in your earnings history can make a big difference in how your Social Security benefits are calculated. How? It all goes back to the benefit’s formula. The Social Security Administration uses your highest 35 years of earnings as a cornerstone of the benefit calculation. If any of these 35 years are incorrect or missing altogether, the average is skewed. One year of missing earnings can make a difference of $100 per month (or more!) in your benefit amount. Over your lifetime, that could be nearly $30,000 in missed benefits from one year of missing earnings.

You need to check your Social Security earnings record today. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do.

Here’s how to accomplish this in five easy steps.

Step 1

Visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount to get started. If you click the link, it will open Social Security’s website in a separate page so you can keep using this guide.

Once the page loads, simple click on the button labeled “Sign In or Create an Account.”
my social security account sign in page

Step #2

Type your username and password and click the button labeled “Sign In.”

social security online username and password page

Step #3

In the third step, you need to read and agree to the my Social Security Terms of Service. Be sure to carefully read this page before clicking in the “I agree” box and then clicking “Next.”

Although you need to understand this information for yourself, here’s a summary of what you are agreeing to.

-You will never share your information with anyone or use anyone’s account
-Once you open an account, you will no longer receive an paper statement in the mail. Instead, you’ll receive an annual email reminding you to login and check your information.

 

my ssa terms of service

Step #4

Now that you are on the home page, you just need to click on “Earnings Record” tab in the top.

 

social security earnings record

Step #5

On your screen you should see your earnings record. Check it carefully. If there is a mistake, the burden is yours to prove it. You’ll need to locate documents that prove the error such as tax forms, W-2 forms or pay stubs. If you can’t find these, Social Security says to write down the name and address of your employer, the dates you worked there, how much you earned and the name and Social Security number you were using while you were employed, and the agency will use this information to investigate the problem.

For more information from the Social Security Administration on the procedure, you can visit the section of their POMS manual that discusses this.

 

social security earnings

Step #5 1/2

Dont forget to sign out! This system has too much valuable information to leave it open.

 

sign out social security online

 

 

Social Security Change of Address

How-To Guide

social security address change

If you’re receiving Social Security benefits or Medicare and have recently moved, your Social Security change of address needs to be high on your priority list.

The Social Security Administration makes it clear how important this is in their publication What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits.

Even if you receive your benefits by direct deposit, Social Security must have your correct address so we can send letters and other important information to you. We’ll stop your benefits if we can’t contact you.

Ouch! You don’t want that to happen.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy and painless to get your address changed. You just have to choose which of these three approaches will work best for you.

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my Social Security: Accessing Your Social Security Benefits Statement

A step-by-step guide in less than 2 minutes

social security statement on a computer screen

 

Your Social Security benefits statement has some really important information in it. But where do you find it?

Several years ago the Social Security Administration stopped mailing the annual benefits statement to save cost. Then they started back…but not for everyone. Now, you’ll only receive a statement 3 months before you turn age 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60. After age 60, you should receive a statement every year.

I’m glad they started mailing them again, but for those under age 60 receiving a new Social Security statement every five years in not nearly often enough. Your estimated benefits are most likely changing on an annual basis when your yearly earnings are recorded. If you keep your retirement plan updated annually (and you should), you’ll need these numbers to change your calculations.

So forget waiting on the postal service to deliver this important document.  Just use this step-by-step guide and you’ll be looking at your benefits statement in less than two minutes!

STEP #1

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my Social Security: How to Set Up Your Online Social Security Account

In 8 Super-Easy Steps

How to set up your online social security account

Setting up a my Social Security account is a great idea. Especially if you hate the long lines at the Social Security office!

Also, the information available in your online Social Security account is critical for sound retirement planning. So if you haven’t already claimed your account, you should today!

Here are a few things you’ll be able to do once you sign up.

If you have already filed for Social Security

You can:

-Change your direct deposit
-Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA 1042S for tax purposes
-Instantly print a letter wtih proof of your Social Security benefits
-Change your address
-Request a replacement Medicare card (if over 65)
-Check your benefit and payment history

If you have not already filed for Social Security

You can:

-Verify your earnings history and then keep track of your yearly earnings
-Get an estimate of your future benefits
-Apply for Social Security benefits

If all of those reasons aren’t enough to convince you to set up your online account today, consider this: For every day that goes by without YOU setting up your online account, your chances increase that someone else will! If for no other reason, do it to keep yourself protected.

How to Set Up Your Online Social Security Account

Setting up your my SSA account is really simple. In fact, I can show you how in 8 super-easy steps.

STEP #1

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