Get Your Social Security Statement Online
Article submitted by Mike Baksa, Lead Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration in Denver Regional Communications Office. For more information visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
If you would like to get a Social Security Statement, which provides estimates of your future benefits, it is now available online at www.socialsecurity.gov. “Our new online Social Security Statement is simple, easy-to-use and provides people with estimates they can use to plan for their retirement,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “The online Statement also provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. People should get in the habit of checking their online Statement each year, around their birthday, for example.” In addition to helping with financial planning, the online Statement also provides workers a convenient way to determine whether their earnings are accurately posted to their Social Security records. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over a person’s lifetime. If the information is incorrect, the person may not receive proper benefits. The online Statement provides you the opportunity to save or print the document for future reference, or to have handy for discussions with family members or a financial planner. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, users are giving the online Statement a score of 89, making it competitive with our other top-rated, best-in-government online services, such as the Retirement Estimator and online retirement application.
To get a personalized online Statement, you must be age 18 or older and must be able to provide information about yourself that matches information already on file with Social Security. In addition, Social Security uses Experian, an external authentication service provider, for further verification. You must provide identifying information and answer security questions in order to pass this verification. Social Security will not share your Social Security number with Experian, but the identity check is an important part of this new, thorough verification process. When your identity is verified, you can create a “My Social Security” account with a unique user name and password to access your online Statement. In addition, your online Statement includes links to information about other online Social Security services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare. For more information about the new online Statement, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement.
Before I forget, here’s a reminder…this time of year, we see a lot of weddings, and in many cases that means name changes. If you - or someone you know - need to change your name due to marriage, divorce, or any other reason, you will want to report the change to Social Security. There are several reasons to report the change. First, IRS and Social Security match computer records. If the name and Social Security number you report on your tax return do not match the name and Social Security number in our records, it could delay the processing of your return as well as any tax refund you might be due.
The second reason it is important to make sure your Social Security records are up-to-date is because your potential Social Security benefits are based almost entirely on the earnings record we maintain for you. If your employer reports earnings to the government under your new name, and your Social Security record still shows your old name, those earnings may not get credited to your Social Security earnings record. Missing earnings can lead to lower future Social Security benefits.
To change your name in Social Security’s records, just go to Get Or Replace A Social Security Card and print out the form for a Social Security card, “Application Form SS-5.” That’s also the form you need if you simply want to apply for a replacement card. The application form also tells you what evidence you will need to submit. Complete the one-page form and bring or mail it to your local Social Security office with proper documentation. All documents must be originals or certified copies and must have information that clearly identifies you, like your date and place of birth. The application includes information on what types of identity and documentation are needed for specific cases, and what sorts of documents we can accept.
More about the Author:
Mike Baksa is the Lead Public Affairs Specialist for Social Security Administration in Denver Regional Communications Office. For more information about Social Security Administration visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
Posted July 2012 on www.SeniorsResourceGuide.com