Find Out Your Estimated Social Security Benefits
Periodically checking your estimated Social Security benefits serves several purposes: It helps you plan for retirement and allows you to check for and correct errors.
The Social Security Administration keeps a database of your earnings record and work credits, tracking both through your Social Security number. You can see this information on your Social Security Statement, which is available to everyone age 25 and over. The Social Security Statement also gives you an estimate of the benefits you’ll receive at retirement age, which can play an important role in your financial planning.
Apply For A Cpp Retirement Pension
While applying, you may:
- add a federal voluntary tax deduction
- request to receive your tax slips online, rather than by mail
- request the child-rearing provision
You will not be able to apply online if:
- you are not, at least 1 month past your 59th birthday
- you are receiving a CPP retirement pension
- you have already applied for the CPP retirement pension and Service Canada is assessing your application
- you are or were receiving a CPP disability benefit
- you were receiving a benefit that was paid to a designated third party
- you live outside of Canada
- you only have QPP contributions
- you are a CPP and QPP contributor residing in Quebec
- you have an authorized third party on your account
If any of the above applies to you, you will need to :
Don’t Leave Your Benefits Unclaimed
Chances are good Social Security is going to be an important source of funds when you retire. You don’t want your checks to be reduced because your earnings record wasn’t correct. Create your account and check your earnings record today if you haven’t done so recently, so you can make sure you’re getting the full amount of retirement benefits you deserve.
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What If Someone Steals My Social Security Number
All of this is of course very interesting, but lets bring it back to the point of this article: what if some bad guy steals, obtains, guesses at, or otherwise gets hold of your Social Security Number? As it happens, all kinds of bad things!
Because you have to have a Social Security Number to get a job in the United States , crooks are very fond of stealing SSNs specifically for the purpose of selling them to people who do not already have permission to work in the United States, so that those people can get a job.
Nothing is wrong with people getting jobs, of course, but if they are using your Social Security Number, it can cause untold confusion and issues with your taxes and your Social Security benefits. You could even LOSE your Social Security benefits and that can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As you can see, it is very important for you to be able to tell whether someone is using your Social Security Number without your permission. In this article, I will show you several methods of detecting whether your Social Security Number has been compromised.
Submit A Request For Reconsideration Of A Decision
If you disagree with a decision in relation to your application for a CPP, CPP disability or OAS benefit, you may ask us to reconsider our decision.
To submit your request online:
- sign in to your MSCA account
- navigate to the Canada Pension Plan / Old Age Security section
- select Request for reconsideration
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How To Replace Your Ssn If Its Been Lost Or Stolen
If you lost your SSN or it got stolen, you can ask for a replacement. Having your Social Security card stolen or losing it will make it harder for you to find your SSN. This is why you should make sure to have it replaced. If you want to do that, you should go to the Social Security Administration website.
But if you know your SSN, it may not be necessary to replace the card. You just need to make sure you have it on other documents as well, like your tax returns or bank statements.
What makes this great is the fact that you will not have to pay to have your Social Security card replaced if it got lost or stolen, or if you damaged it. All you have to do is fill out an Application for a Social Security Card and print it. Then, you can mail it to the local Social Security office, together with other documents.
Responsibilities Of Our Partners
The Login.gov service connects the public to federal agencies more easily by allowing users to access multiple government programs with one Login.gov account.
Partner agencies select the information they require from the list of attributes we support. If we dont already have it, we request that information from you validate it, and ask for your consent to share it with the partner agency. Partners can request a variety of information such as name, address, birth date, phone number and email address. Partners are required to protect this information in compliance with federal law and policy.
During the process of becoming a partner on the Login.gov service, we collect information from the agency about the type of access they are providing and, from that information, come to agreement with the partner on the risk of the application and the need for personal information. Based on this, we determine the level of information the partner may receive.
We will never share information with a partner without your explicit consent. You may revoke this consent at any time, and we will revoke the partners access to the information. The partner may retain it subject to their data retention policies. The Login.gov service does not collect any information you provide directly to the partner.
Prospective partners and other interested parties can find more information about the partner onboarding process here.
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
Identity Proofing And Verification
The first time you try to log in using Login.gov at a partner application that requires a high degree of certainty that you are who you say you are, we initiate a process called identity proofing. Identity proofing takes information about you and attempts to verify that information and then validate that you, the user, are the individual you claim to be. We call this information identity evidence and it generally includes your name, date of birth, social security number, home address, a photo of yourself and a photo of identification, such as your drivers license or passport.
After you provide us with this identity evidence, we attempt to validate it against various authoritative sources. We use third party identity proofing services to assist us with this validation. For instance, if you submit a photo of your drivers license from your state of residence, well compare the information on it to the authoritative data from your state Department of Motor Vehicles , Motor Vehicle Administration , or equivalent state agency to ensure that you exist in those records. Well also use technology to look for certain security features on the drivers license to ensure that its not fake.
After we have validated the identity evidence you provide to us, we verify that you are that person. We may do this by asking you to take a photo of yourself so that we can compare it to the photo identification, like drivers license or passport, that you provided .
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Finding Your Social Security Number
If you find yourself thinking, What is my SSN, then one of the easiest ways to find it is by looking on existing documentation that you may already have. Believe it or not, your Social Security number is listed on many documents that you might already have in your possession. It is a nine-digit number that will usually contain two hyphens. First, try and locate your Social Security card. Your number will be plainly displayed there. If you cannot find your card, there is still hope.
You can still try some of these other documents that are likely to have your number on them. Look for some of your old tax returns. Your number will be listed typically on the first page of your tax return. You can also check your W-2 from your employer and maybe even your bank statements. Both of these documents are common places to find your SSN listed. If you still have no luck, check your drivers license. While most states no longer display your SSN on your license, it is worth a look. If you have an immigrant visa, then your USCIS Forms are the next place you should look. SSNs are common on your visa paperwork, so you can often find your number there. If you are unable to find your number anywhere you look, then youll need to contact the SSA to start the process of getting a replacement Social Security card.
Errors Can Dramatically Affect How Much In Social Security Income You Can Claim
Let me give you an example of how this can affect your benefit amount. For this example, I used the actual online calculator from the Social Security Administration. If you want to follow along, you can just go to the Online Calculator and crunch the numbers for yourself.
In the example calculation I ran, I assumed the following:
A worker has 35 years of earnings that started in 1984 and ended in 2018. Instead of going for a really high annual earnings amount, which would have exaggerate the effect, I assumed that this individual started in 1984 with a salary of $35,000 and had a 2% raise every year.
Under that assumption, this individual would have a full retirement age benefit of $2,418 dollars. Thats the baseline benefit amount wed expect this person to receive.
But what happens if information is missing from the earnings record? I went back to our calculation and assumed just one year of earnings in 1990 wasnt included on the workers record due to clerical error.
For one missing year, the benefit would decrease to $2,385 dollars. For two missing years, it would decrease to $2,353 dollars. For three, it would be $2,322. For four, it would be $2,291 and for five, it would be $2,260.
Thats a difference of $158 dollars per month.
Now, you might be thinking, Devin, that doesnt sound like such a crisis. $158 extra per month would be nice, but thats not paying for much.
I dont think anyone would willingly give up any of those amounts.
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How To Correct An Error On Your Social Security Statement
If you have evidence of your covered earnings in the year or years for which you think Social Security has made an error, call Social Security’s helpline at 800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is the line that takes all kinds of Social Security questions, and it is often swamped, so be patient. It is best to call early in the morning or late in the afternoon, late in the week, or late in the month. Have all your documents handy when you speak with a representative.
If you would rather speak with someone in person, call your local Social Security office and make an appointment to see someone there, or drop into the office during regular business hours. If you drop in, be prepared to wait, perhaps as long as an hour or two, before you get to see a representative. Bring with you two copies of your benefits statement and the evidence that supports your claim of higher income. That way, you can leave one copy with the Social Security worker. Write down the name of the person with whom you speak so that you can reach the same person when you follow up.
The process to correct errors is slow. It may take several months to have the changes made in your record. After Social Security confirms that it has corrected your record, request another benefits statement to make sure the correct information made it to your file.
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 benefits 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 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, its pretty easy to do.
Heres how to accomplish this in five easy steps.
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Guiding Clients Through The Creation Of Their My Social Security Account
If youre a financial advisor, the chances are high that youve already established your own my Social Security account . But it may have been several years or longer since youve created your account or helped walk a family member, friend, or client through the process.
In order to create amy Social Security account, individuals should visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount, and click the Create an Account button, after which individuals will be brought to another page, where they will need to click another Create New Account button .
From there, users will be prompted to agree to the Terms of Service, which include acknowledging that false or misleading statements can lead to civil and/or criminal penalties, as well as important restrictions on the extent to which others may aid in the process to establish the account .
After agreeing to the Terms of Service, clients will be required to provide some basic information, including the following:
- First and last name, as shown on their Social Security card
- Social Security number
- Home address and
- Email address.
Note that in an effort to help increase the security of workers my Social Security accounts, beginning June 10, 2017, two-factor authentication is required each time an individual logs into their account. Workers have the opportunity to provide a valid cell phone number to use for this purpose.
What Does My Statement Show
Your statement shows how much you’ve paid in Social Security and Medicare taxes during your working years. It also estimates how much you would get in benefits when you reach full retirement age.
It also shows benefits you could be eligible for if you become disabled and can’t work, as well as survivor benefits.
Its important to note that these are only estimates. Several factors could affect the actual benefits you receive when you retire:
- Ups and downs in your future earnings
- Cost-of-living increases to Social Security benefits
- Potential changes to Social Security
- Military service, railroad employment or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax
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Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments
Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.
To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.
Understanding Benefits Shown On A Social Security Statement
Once a worker has established their my Social Security account, they can easily access and download a current Social Security statement.
The information that most workers and advisors are concerned with can be found on pages 2 and 3 of the statement, but advisors may wish to pause to review information on page 1 with clients, too, as it can help prompt important planning conversations.
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Why Is It Important To Check Your Social Security Earnings Record
You should check your earnings record at least once per year to make sure your earnings have been properly reported to the SSA.
If your employer didn’t report your income properly or reported using the wrong name or Social Security number, you may not have received credit for all you made. If you changed your name after marriage or divorce and didn’t report this to the SSA, you may also have an incorrect record.
If there’s a problem, you need to contact the SSA to correct it — and provide documentation including tax returns, W-2s, or pay stubs. If you’ve gone years between checking your earnings and you notice a mistake, you may not have these old documents any more and fixing your record could become more difficult.
If you don’t get credit for the full amount of wages you earned, your Social Security benefits will be smaller as a result of it. And if money was taken directly out of your paycheck to cover Social Security taxes , you’d have paid taxes for benefits you don’t receive.