How To Check Your Social Security Statement Online
It’s easy to check your Social Security statement online. Everything works exactly as you’d expect and the website security is tight. Here’s how.
From the main page of your account, you have access to all of your basic Social Security info, such as your earning record:
And your estimated benefits:
You can also download your most recent Social Security statement and/or order a replacement card.
There’s not a lot to see in your Social Security account, but that’s fine. Sometimes you simply need to check your estimated benefits or your lifetime earnings. The Social Security website makes that easy and efficient to do.
Check The Social Security Administration’s Math
Your statement includes a record of the earnings on which you’ve paid taxes and an estimate of the benefits you will receive at various retirement ages: 62, 67, and 70. It is always wise for you to check the SSA’s numbers. Don’t be surprised if you uncover an error. Some government-watchers estimate that the SSA makes mistakes on at least 3% of the total official earnings records it keeps.
When you check your record, make sure that the Social Security number noted on your earnings statement is your own, and make sure the earned income amounts listed on the agency’s records mesh with your own records of earnings as listed on your income tax forms or pay stubs.
Estimated Net Benefits Under Differing Circumstances
In 2004, Urban Institute economists C. Eugene Steuerle and Adam Carasso created a Web-based Social Security benefits calculator. Using this calculator it is possible to estimate net Social Security benefits for different types of recipients. In the book Democrats and Republicans âRhetoric and Reality Joseph Fried used the calculator to create graphical depictions of the estimated net benefits of men and women who were at different wage levels, single and married , and retiring in different years. These graphs vividly show that generalizations about Social Security benefits may be of little predictive value for any given worker, due to the wide disparity of net benefits for people at different income levels and in different demographic groups. For example, the graph below shows the impact of wage level and retirement date on a male worker. As income goes up, net benefits get smaller âeven negative.
However, the impact is much greater for the future retiree than for the current retiree . The male earning $95,000 per year and retiring in 2045 is estimated to lose over $200,000 by participating in the Social Security system.
The next image shows estimated net benefits for married men and women at different wage levels. In this particular scenario it is assumed that the spouse has little or no earnings and, thus, will be entitled to collect a spousal retirement benefit. According to Fried:
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How To Find Your Social Security Number // Social Security Offices
Social Security numbers have become one of the main pieces of identification used in the United States. The Social Security Administration manages the issuance and governance of these numbers. There are many times when you might need to know your SSN such as starting a new job, applying for a loan, or applying for Social Security benefits. Sometimes you are required to present your Social Security card as well, but often simply knowing your number is enough. So, what happens if you forget your number and do not have access to your card? You are probably scratching your head and wondering, What is my Social Security number? There are some ways that you can find out your Social Security number and even get a replacement card, but you will have to go through the proper steps to verify your identity. If you find yourself needing your SSN, but you cannot find it, then keep reading to learn how to find your Social Security number.
You Can Undo A Social Security Benefits Claiming Decision
There aren’t many times in life you can take a mulligan. But Social Security offers you the chance for a do-over. Let’s say you claimed your benefit, but regretted the decision and wished you had waited. Within the first 12 months of claiming Social Security benefits, you can withdraw the application. You will need to pay back all the benefits you received, including any spousal benefits based on your record. But you can later restart your Social Security benefits at the higher amount youll earn by waiting.
Early claimers have another opportunity for a do-over: They can choose to suspend their Social Security benefit at full retirement age. Say you took your benefit at age 62. Once you turn full retirement age, you can suspend your benefit. You don’t have to pay back what you have received, and your benefit will earn delayed retirement credits of 8% a year. Wait to restart your benefit at age 70, and your monthly payment will get up to a 32% boost — which could erase much of the reduction from claiming early.
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Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color
Social Security is a particularly important source of income for groups with low earnings and less opportunity to save and earn pensions, including Black and Latino workers and their families, who face higher poverty rates both during their working lives and in old age. The poverty rate among Black and Latino seniors is over 2.5 times as high as for white seniors. There is a significant racial retirement wealth gap, leading seniors of color to face more retirement insecurity than white seniors. African American and Latino workers are less likely to be offered workplace retirement plans and likelier to work in low-wage jobs with little margin for savings. Social Security helps reduce the economic disparities between white seniors and seniors of color.
Select How To Recieve Security Code
Next, you will have to choose how you want Social Security to reach you each time you try to login into your account.
Every time you log on, Social Security will text or email a new code for you to enter to prove your identity. This is called two-step verification.
You will be sent a code once you pick an option.
Enter the security code sent to your phone or email.
Please note that this code will expire after 10 minutes.
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Court Interpretation Of The Act To Provide Benefits
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has indicated that the Social Security Act has a moral purpose and should be liberally interpreted in favor of claimants when deciding what counted as covered wages for purposes of meeting the quarters of coverage requirement to make a worker eligible for benefits. That court has also stated: “… he regulations should be liberally applied in favor of beneficiaries” when deciding a case in favor of a felon who had his disability payments retroactively terminated upon incarceration. According to the court, that the Social Security Act “should be liberally construed in favor of those seeking its benefits can not be doubted.” “The hope behind this statute is to save men and women from the rigors of the poor house as well as from the haunting fear that such a lot awaits them when journey’s end is near.”
Social Security Benefits Quiz: True Or False
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How Do I Estimate My Monthly Retirement Benefits
You can estimate your monthly retirement benefits by calculating your PIA, the monthly benefit youre eligible to receive once you reach your FRA. To determine your PIA, the Social Security Administration uses your best 35 years of employment to arrive at your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings . If you havent worked for 35 years, some of the included earnings may be zero.
If you continue working after reaching your FRA, the SSA will automatically recalculate your benefits each year you continue to work. If your current income is greater than any of your previously calculated best 35 years, your benefits will be adjusted upward. The increase generally will be made in October of the following year but will be retroactive to January 1.
Social Security retirement benefits are automatically modified each year for cost-of-living adjustments , which are either positive or zero never negative. COLAs are based on the Consumer Price Index and have averaged between 1% and 2% over the past 10 years.
For more information, the SSA offers a helpful Social Security retirement calculator.
Children Can Also Collect Social Security Benefits
Minor children of Social Security beneficiaries can be eligible for benefits. Children up to age 18 and disabled children older than 18 may be able to receive up to half of a parent’s Social Security benefit. The disability must have occurred before the age of 22. The adult child can continue collecting the benefit even after the parent has died, as long as the disability prevents them from working.
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How To Get A Copy Of Your Social Security Statement
The SSA mails out Social Security Statements to follks age 25 and over before their birthdays during their 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 years. For those age 60 until retirement, the SSA will send out statements every year. You can also go online to get a copy of your statement or view it online. Go to www.ssa.gov/mystatement/ and open an account with Social Security to view your statement.
How Cola Increases Evolved Over Time
Each year, the SSA announces any increases to Social Security benefits, known as COLA, to help recipients keep up with rising prices. The increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers , which is the official measure of the monthly price change in goods and services. Annually, the SSA compares the CPI-W for the third quarter of the previous year and current year to determine the COLA increase.
While COLA adjustments are now automatic, this was not always the case. Beneficiaries received their first COLA adjustment in October 1950. A second increase was made in September 1952 through legislation. For the next 20 years, recipients only saw their benefits increase if Congress approved it.
In 1972, Congress passed legislation to provide automatic increases linked to a rise in consumer prices. Recipients would no longer have to wait for Congress to take action to receive an increase. The first automatic increases to Social Security benefits took effect in 1975. After 1982, COLA adjustments were effective for December of each year and received by beneficiaries in January.
Here is a history of COLA increases from 1975 to 2021:
|Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustments|
How To See Your Social Security Benefits Online
Quickly check your Social Security statement online instead of waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail.
Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Whether you’ve been receiving Social Security benefits for decades, or you’re just curious to see how much money you could get when you retire, having online access to your benefits is a must. To view your statements and future benefits from your phone or laptop, you’ll need to set up a My Social Security account.
Here’s how to access your Social Security benefits online, and the information you’ll be able to see. If you’ve got a while before you retire, here’s the easiest way to save for retirement. If you receive benefits now, here’s the Social Security payment schedule for June.
Why Cant I Set Up A My Social Security Account
If you are unable to set up my Social Security account, heres a possible reason.
You cannot set up a My Social Security account if you have a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit report.
Thats because as part of the account setup process, you have to answer questions that are pulled from your credit report.
Therefore, if your credit report is frozen or has a fraud alert, that will block you from setting up an account.
Youll need to temporarily lift the freeze or alert .
Alternatively, you can open an account in person at a Social Security office.
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When Is The Best Time To Claim On Your Ex
When to claim depends on how long you think youll live. If you are generally healthy and active or have relatives who have lived a long time, youll probably want to plan for 20, 25, 30, or more years in retirement. With Social Security, the longer you wait to claim, the larger the amount of monthly payments youll generally receive on your own work record. However, your benefit as an ex-spouse will not get any larger than half your exs PIA. And, that is only if you wait until your FRA to claim.
Lets look at an example: Clair and her ex were married for 17 years, from 1975 to 1992. She worked and qualifies for her own Social Security benefits. Now, at age 64 , Clair is thinking about retirement and wants to know when she should claim, on whose record, and how much she would receive in monthly benefits under each scenario.
|Clair claims at 64|
|For illustrative purposes only.|
If Clair claims at 64, she locks in a permanent reduction of her monthly benefits. If she waits till 70, shell get a higher amount, but would have to use other assets to pay her retirement expenses between now and age 70.
Are You Eligible For Social Security
To be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must earn at least 40 credits over your working career. How those credits are calculated is complex, but you will likely qualify if you have worked for at least 10 years.
You may be entitled to a spousal benefit because of your partner’s work history. If your spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse has earned 40 credits, you may qualify. The Social Security Administration provides more info about this option.
But your work history is not only used as part of the qualification criteria it is also used to figure out the amount of your payment. In calculating your monthly retirement benefit, the SSA considers your highest-earning 35 years of work history. If you worked for less than 35 years, the SSA will use zero for some years.
The higher your earnings over those 35 years, the greater your contribution to the program through FICA taxes, and the higher your benefit will be.
The same threshold applies to both your earnings and your benefits. This amount is $142,800 in 2021, and it will raise to $147,000 for the 2022 tax year.
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Fact #: Social Security Benefits Are Modest
Social Security benefits are much more modest than many people realize the average Social Security retirement benefit in June 2020 was about $1,514 a month, or about $18,170 a year. For someone who worked all of their adult life at average earnings and retires at age 65 in 2020, Social Security benefits replace about 40 percent of past earnings. This replacement rate will slip to about 35 percent for a medium earner retiring at 65 in the future, chiefly because the full retirement age, which has already risen to 66, and is gradually climbing to 67 over the 2017-2022 period.
The average Social Security retirement benefit in June 2020 was $1,514 a month, or about $18,170 a year.
Moreover, most retirees enroll in Medicares Supplementary Medical Insurance and have Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. As health care costs continue to outpace general inflation, those premiums will take a bigger bite out of their checks.
Social Security benefits are modest by international standards, too. The United States ranks just outside the bottom third of developed countries in the percentage of an average workers earnings replaced by the public pension system.
Social Security lifted 1.5 million children out of poverty in 2018, as the chart shows.