my Social Security Account: What It Is and Why You Need It
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: September 8, 2017
As you may or may not have noticed, the Social Security Administration doesn’t mail out yearly statements anymore. Instead, they mail out statements every 5 years — 3 months prior to workers turning 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60. Still, that’s an improvement over the period between 2011 and 2014 when no statements went out at all, regardless of age, due to budgetary constraints. Fortunately, you need not wait 5-year intervals to see your estimated Social Security earnings.
Get yourself a my Social Security account and you can check the status of your benefits online anytime. Just keep in mind that, once you sign up for a my Social Security account, you will no longer receive paper statements at all. The same is true once you start receiving Social Security benefits.
What You Can Do With a my Social Security Account
1) View Your Estimated Benefits
Do you have any idea of how much Social Security you will receive when you retire? my Social Security breaks it down for you, including how much you can expect to receive per month if you retire at 62, 67, or 70.
Note, this is based on your current earnings rate, meaning the estimate can change according to your income going forward. If you make less than your current income going forward, your estimate will be lower; if you make more than your current income going forward, your estimate will be higher.
You can also see the estimated benefits for disability and survivor benefits. These numbers are estimates for now — how much you would receive if you became disabled today and how much your survivors would receive in the event to of your death today.
2) See Your Earnings Record
This is a pretty impressive document, as you can see a breakdown of your earnings for every year you have worked over the course of your lifetime. Make sure it’s accurate, though, as your earnings and taxes you’ve paid on them is what determines your benefits. If you don’t have records that go back that far, verify what you can.
3) Get a Copy of Your Social Security Statement
Would you like your own copy for easy reference? You can get a copy of your full Social Security statement. This includes all of the same information you can view on the website but in a PDF format that you can save and print right from your own computer. Our suggestion is that you save these documents to an external hard drive or on to a flash drive so you do not lose them. Saving them on to an flash drive will ensure you have this information even if your computer crashes. And, it makes this information safe from hackers.
4) Download Your Statement Data as an XML File
Are you using a software program to help with your financial and retirement planning? The XML file format can be useful for quickly and easily importing your Social Security data into say, QuickBooks. Also, this format is helpful if you are sending this information to your accountant.
5) Request a Replacement Social Security Card
This is a secure 3-step process: 1) background information, 2) identity verification, 3) confirmation.
6) Get Proof You Do Not Receive Social Security Benefits
When you select this option, you’ll be redirected to a page that displays this letter immediately, with an option for you to print or save it.
7) Use the Help Center For All Sorts of Related Issues, Such As:
- Changing or correcting the name on your Social Security card.
- Getting Social Security cards for newborns and children.
- Applying for retirement.
- Applying for disability.
- Applying for Supplemental Security Income.
- Applying for Medicare.
Security of Your Account
Are you concerned about hackers accessing your online account? So are they, thus Social Security’s integration of Equifax verification into its authentication system.
Make Sure You’re In the Right Place
If you’re ready to create a my Social Security account, make sure you’re on the right website. Here’s a direct link to my Social Security and here is the address: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.