In the past, the Social Security Administration annually provided statements by mail showing your lifetime earnings and estimating the benefit amounts for retirement, disability, and survivor’s benefits. If you are under 60, 2010 was likely the last year you received a statement. With current budget constraints, you should not expect another one mailed to you until you turn 60. So how do you get an estimate of benefits or double check that Social Security correctly posted your yearly income? Beginning in 2013, “My Social Security” Online is the answer.
The process to sign up for My Social Security is fairly easy, if you have all the correct information. On the ssa.gov (also socialsecurity.gov) website, after agreeing to the Terms of Service, you simply enter your basic information (name, birthdate, address, etc.) and answer some security questions designed to ensure your privacy. This is where it can get a little tricky. The SSA partners with credit checking firms such as Equifax and TransUnion to verify your identity, which can lead to multiple choice questions about lines of credit or the number of bedrooms in your residence. You may want to make some calls to your family members, bank, or credit card company before submitting the multiple choice answers. If you answer any of the questions incorrectly, you will be locked out of the ssa.gov website for 24 hours. But you can return later and try again; just be aware that the questions will be different the second time around.
If you answer all the questions correctly, you create a username and password, which can be used to log-on in the future. After logging in, you can access an updated statement (like the ones you previously received by mail), estimate retirement benefits at ages 62, 66 and 70, double check earnings, and change your address or phone number.
If you are currently receiving benefits from Social Security, you can go on the My Social Security link to notify SSA of a change of address or telephone number; or to start or change your bank direct deposit information.
At LaPorte Law Firm, as part of our services we routinely obtain your Estimated Benefit statement from SSA with your permission just prior to filing an application for disability benefits, so that you can be provided the most up-to-date estimate of your benefit level for you and your family. However, once a claim or appeal is in active consideration by SSA, you may not obtain an on-line statement until your case is completed.
If you have any questions about My Social Security, please feel free to give us a call.