The Social Security Administration Offers Beneficiaries The Chance To Check Out Their Potential Entitlement And Access Tailored Advice Before Claiming Their Payments
Social Security is the most widely-used form of federal financial support in the United States and is vital to ensuring that retirees and people with disabilities are able to get by. However each individual’s exact Social Security entitlement is dependent on a range of factors, from their age and employment history to their marital status and family size.
To understand how much you could receive from Social Security, and to time your first claim to ensure that you get the largest amount, you will need to check your Social Security Statement .
Preventing Losses And Fraudulent Activity
It’s important to protect your Social Security debit card like you would any other credit or debit card or even your cash.
Keep your PIN safe, and don’t share it with others. If your Direct Express card is lost or stolen, you should report your missing card immediately by calling the customer service number on the back of the card, so it is wise to copy that number and keep it separate. Direct Express will replace your card so you can continue to access your account. The first replacement card each calendar year is free after that, theres a $4 fee to replace a missing card. Your replacement card should arrive in the mail within seven to 10 days.
You can have a replacement card expedited by request. The fee for this service is $13.50.
How Your Credit Score Is Affected
While it looks and swipes like a credit card, the Direct Express card is not a credit card. No credit check is necessary to receive the card or to have your benefits deposited to the card each month.
When you make purchases, youre not borrowing money, and theres no balance to repay each month. Your card usage isn’t reported to any of the major credit bureaus, which means that it’s not included in your credit report and won’t impact your credit in any way. You can, however, use the card for paying other monthly bills that may affect your credit.
Also Check: How To Find Out Your Social Security Benefits
What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
Can You Fax Documents To Social Security
3.9/5faxingCanfaxfaxdocument youyouSocial Security
Keeping this in consideration, how do I send documents to Social Security?
You may call the Social Security Electronic Records Express Help Desk at 1-866-691-3061 or send them an email at , or you should contact the office where you are sending the document or the office that requested the information.
Similarly, how does Social Security get medical records? To get your records, simply request them from your doctor’s office. You may have to pay a fee for copying. If you are getting records before your appeal hearing, you need only get the most recent records — any medical records from visit to doctors or hospitals since you applied for Social Security.
Similarly one may ask, can I mail in my Social Security application?
In most cases, you can take or mail this signed application with your documents to any Social Security office. Any documents you mail to us will be returned to you.
How can I get my Social Security benefit statement?
Read Also: Search Someone By Social Security Number
Limitations Of The Social Security Debit Card
While you can use the Direct Express Social Security debit card for the majority of your purchases, there are some limitations. You can use your card for online purchases as long as the retailer accepts MasterCard debit as a payment method. To use your card for gas purchases, you must pay the clerk inside the gas station you cannot pay at the pump. If you use your Direct Express card to rent a car, the car rental agency will place an authorization hold on up to $500 of your funds. The authorization hold will be released when you return the rental car, but the money might not get back to your account for up to two weeks. In addition, the car rental agency may request additional documentation because you’re not using a credit card.
Depending on the merchant, you may experience a “hold” or block on your account when renting a car or reserving a hotel room. Companies place these holds in order to decrease their risk. Speak to the rental agent or clerk when paying, to find out when the block will be removed .
How To Calculate Social Security Benefits In Excel
If you are in your late 50s and approaching retirement, you can create a useful model of your future benefits. It works best to do this in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, as follows:
- Using a recent Social Security statement, list in spreadsheet column A your taxable Social Security earnings year by year.
- List in column B the most recently published NAWI adjustment factors as published by the SSA.
- Multiply columns A and B and output the result to column C.
- Identify in column D the 35 highest values in column C. Add these together and divide the sum by 420 . This will approximate your AIME.
- Use the most recently published bend points to convert your AIME into a PIA.
You also can fill in hypothetical values for estimated taxable Social Security earnings in future years until you plan to stop working. To be conservative, use a NAWI adjustment factor of 1.0 in column B for all future years.
A financial advisor who fully understands this process can be helpful in verifying your calculations, advising you on when to start Social Security benefits, and estimating the future benefits you can expect to receive.
Whats New In The Statement
The redesigned Statement is streamlined and written in plain language to make it easy to read, use, and understand. Weve divided the information into sections, like different types of benefits, so you can easily find what you need. The new Statementprovides a bar chart with your personalized retirement benefit estimates for up to nine different ages, depending on when you may want your benefits to start. This key information can help you make educated decisions about your financial future.
Fact sheets tailored to your age group and earnings situation accompany your online Statement. The fact sheets can help you better understand Social Security programs, benefits, and how they fit your situation. For example, for younger workers, we provide more information about how you can save for your future for older workers, we explain how benefits may be taxed and how to avoid a Medicare penalty. We include links in the fact sheets for easier reference and additional information.
Our Social Security Statement web page at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/statement has samples of the Statement, as well as copies of the new fact sheets . Please share these resources with your friends and family.
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.
Don’t Miss: How Your Social Security Benefit Is Calculated
How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Direct Express debit card – a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
Get Your Personalized Statement Online Today
The best way to access your new Statement is by using your personal my Social Security account. If you dont have an account, be sure to create one today. Your account also lets you access other services online, such as requesting a replacement Social Security card and getting a letter proving you do not receive Social Security benefits.
Get started by signing in to or creating your my Social Security account today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount!
Kylle D. McKinney is an Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Also Check: Social Security T
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.
Get A Copy Of Your Social Security Statement
Get a Copy of Your Social Security Statement
In the past, the Social Security Administration has mailed out yearly statements to all workers showing their cumulative Social Security contributions over the course of their employment history. These statements can be helpful if you are interested in knowing exactly what you would receive in Social Security benefits through the Old Age/Retirement program, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, or through the Supplemental Security Income program.
Getting a Copy of Your Statement
Although the SSA no longer mails out annual statements to workers, you can still request a copy of your statement to get a better idea of the amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive through any of the SSAs programs. Statements can be obtained in one of the following three ways:
Creating an Online Account
Creating an online account with the SSAs website takes only a few minutes, and requires minimal personal information. Once you have established your account, nothing is required to maintain access other than periodically adjusting your password in order to keep your information secure. To create your online account and get a copy of your Social Security statement, simply visit the SSAs website.
Your Social Security Statement
Your statement will also contain other useful information including:
Recommended Reading: Do You Have To Get A New Social Security Card When You Get Married
How To Request A Social Security Benefits Statement
The Social Security Administration mails out paper statements to workers who are 60 years or above before their birthday if they either do not receive benefits yet or have not set up a my Social Security Account. Statements are in English except in Puerto Rico, where they are in Spanish. You can request a Spanish or English copy by visiting your local Social Security Administration office or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
However, you do not have to wait for the Social Security Administration to send out your benefits statement. You can receive a Social Security benefits statement before the SSA sends one to you. Then, you can begin planning for retirement ahead of time.
In order to obtain a Social Security benefits statement ahead of time, all youll need to do is to set up a my Social Security account. The account is completely secure and will only take a few minutes to set up. Once youve set up your my Social Security account, youll be able to access a benefits statement.
If you havent received a benefits statement yet, you should set up a my Social Security account to access it. Doing so will allow you to see your earnings record. You will also see an estimate for the benefits that you may be eligible for in the future.
Why You Should Check Your Social Security Statement
In order to accurately assess how much income youll need in retirement, and therefore how big of a retirement portfolio youll need to produce that income, you have to consider retirement income from non-investment sources. This includes pensions, income generated by non-retirement assets, and Social Security benefits.
For example, if you expect to need $5,000 per month in retirement, but you will receive $2,000 per month in Social Security benefits, then your retirement portfolio will only need to generate $3,000 per month.
Knowing your Social Security benefit is also important because most workers today arent covered by a defined benefit pension plan. Those were the employer-only funded plans that many of todays retirees enjoy. But most workers today will be dependent on a combination of Social Security benefits and the income generated by a generously funded retirement portfolio.
Apart from retirement, its also important to know how much you can expect to receive if you needed to file for disability. This is an often under-appreciated benefit of Social Security, but an extremely important one for everyone who relies primarily on earned income to provide for themselves and their families.
Disability And Survivor Benefits
In addition to retirement benefit eligibility, the statement also provides estimates as to what your monthly income would be if you claimed disability benefits.
There are also estimates for how much monthly income through survivor benefits your eligible spouse or minor children may receive if you pass away.
General Information About Social Security
If you have worked less than 40 quarters under Social Security in the United States, but also contributed to an equivalent social program in a country with which the United States has a bilateral social security agreement, you may still be able to obtain some retirement benefits from Social Security. See: International agreements and totalization benefits. If you receive a foreign pension, or a pension from work in the United States not covered by Social Security , your Social Security benefits may be reduced by application of the Windfall Elimination Provision . Note that WEP does not apply if you have “substantially” contributed to Social Security for 30 years, and is alleviated if you have contributed to Social Security for more than 20 years. More about WEP and how it affects Americans abroad is on this ACA webpage here.Do you believe your Social Security benefits have been unfairly reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision? Social Security will give you 60 days to appeal their decisions. Full information on the appeals process here: www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf
NRAs who are entitled to Social Security retirement benefits and who reside in countries with no bilaterial social security agreement with the US may have their benefits cut off if they remain more than six months outside the US.
Early Or Late Social Security Statements Are Getting A Much
If youre old enough and have worked long enough, you may recall getting an annual Social Security statement in the mail, about three months before your birthday, with estimations of your benefits.
But budget cuts put a stop to the mailings for most workers. Now, if you want to see your personal Social Security statement, youll have to create an online account. If you dont have an account, or you have one but havent checked your statement lately, you should. The Social Security Administration has given the statement a makeover. Its shorter streamlined down to two pages from the previous four and, thankfully, better written.
I give them a lot of credit for trying to make this more user-friendly and trying to explain a variety of things like disability and survivor benefits, said Joel Eskovitz, director of Social Security and Savings at AARP Public Policy Institute. Its a lot of information to convey and generally speaking, I think theyve done a really good job.
The most useful change to the statement is a color bar chart that shows the estimated monthly retirement payments youd get each year starting at age 62 when you first become eligible. Previous statements just showed the monthly amount at 62, your full retirement age, and an estimate of what youd receive by waiting until 70. The increases stop when you reach 70.