Did you know that determining whether your Social Security earnings record is correct falls squarely on your shoulders—not your current or previous employer(s) or the Social Security Administration? Making sure your information is accurate, and correcting mistakes on your record as soon as possible is critical because your Social Security record is the basis for the computation of your benefit amount in retirement.
Reviewing your Social Security statement annually helps to safeguard one of your most important assets in retirement.
Here are two compelling reasons to review your annual Social Security statement now, and at least annually thereafter:
1. Even a “small” error can reduce the amount of your monthly benefit in retirement, which could add up to a loss of thousands over a period of 20 or 30 years in retirement.
2. The Social Security Administration imposes a time limit on corrections to your earnings report of “up to three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which the wages were paid or the self-employment income was derived.”1
Your Social Security statement shows the number of work credits you’ve earned over time and provides estimates for your retirement, disability and survivor benefits. To access your personal statement online, follow the instructions to set up your account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. Then, review the following sections of your statement carefully:
Work Credits - If you’ve already earned 40 work credits, the minimum required for most benefits, your record will show estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits. Otherwise, the statement will show how many credits you still need to qualify for benefits.
Earnings Record - Review your yearly earnings history for accuracy. If any information is incorrect or missing, you may not receive all the benefits you are entitled to in the future. If you need to correct earnings information, follow the instructions provided at www.ssa.gov.
Benefit Estimates - Review your retirement and disability estimates, as well as your survivors benefits estimate for your family.
If you’d like to learn more about the role Social Security benefits play as part of your comprehensive retirement income strategy, or would like help determining the right time to begin taking benefits, contact us today to schedule time to meet.
1-Social Security Administration