Check Social Security Benefits Online

We don’t get a lot of mail from the government. The one that we did get in the past were our Social Security benefit statement that arrived at our house every year. Since the statements were only issued on an annual basis, we didn’t pay any attention to them until they were in our hands, and there isn’t any expectations. We did, however, go through it carefully and compared the numbers from previous statements to see what have changed in one year, because the numbers, though only a few, in the statement will be part of our financial well being in our retirement (well, according to current projection, we may not see any benefit at all when we reach the retirement age if politicians don’t do anything to fix the system).

However, that annual correspondence from Uncle Sam stopped last year after the government decided to stop mailing paper Social Security statement to save money. Taking the place of paper statements, everyone can instead check their benefits from Social Security Administration website, at any time. To me, I am all for using electronic means to deliver statements, bills, and confirmations, etc, because that saves me the trouble of storing and eventually destroying all the paper coming our way. So it is a change that I like, even though for documents like SS benefit statements, I actually prefer to have a hard copy to keep as my records.

Anyway, the last SS benefit mail we received was for the year 2009 which arrived in early 2010, and it went for nearly two years for us without a statement. I guess there’s only one drawback of having the statement accessible online: Now it’s up to us to GET it, not the government to DELIVER it to us. If we don’t remember to do it, the idea of checking the report will just slip away since we only need to do it once a year. Later last month, I finally got the chance to open an account online and got to see my statement for the first time in two years.

I didn’t know exactly why I delayed so long since the whole process is rather straightforward. If you haven’t reviewed your Social Security statement online yet, here’s what you need to do. Before you can account your statement, you will need to go to¬† to create an account. Creating an online account takes less than 10 minutes. First, you provide your personal information such as Name, SSN, Date of Birth, Home Address, and Phone Number. These information is used to verify your identity, which is the second step. You will be asked a few questions that appear to come from your credit report, such as when did you open a mortgage loan or with which mortgage company, etc. Once your identity is secured, you can create an account by setting up an user name and a password so you can use your credential to access your statement online at any time later. That’s it.

After completing the account set up process, you can log into your newly created account and view your statement online. From there, you will see the identical information as you used to see on your paper statement, such as your estimated Social Security benefit information at full retirement age (age 65), at age 70, and at early age (age 62), disability benefits and benefits for family members, and your full earnings record from the time you started to pay Social Security taxes. In addition to reviewing the benefits, it is always important to check the accuracy of your earnings information because your future benefits depend on your reported earnings.
While it’s very convenient to access my report online at any time, I can also download a copy of my report in PDF file, so I can print out a hard copy for my record, just as what I used to get from the government :)
BTW, a week also after creating the account, you will get a confirmation from the Social Security Administration about the account you just created and when you created it and information on how to get help if you have any question.

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