“When you’re 65, it’s nearly impossible to correct something that happened 30 years ago,” Mr. Certner said.
The prospects for the legislation are uncertain. A similar measure introduced last year failed to make any headway, and Congress is currently working on key legislation, such as President Biden’s infrastructure spending bill.
Here are some questions and answers about Social Security statements:
Why do I need to check my statement?
A discrepancy in your earnings can not only affect your future benefits, but it can also provide a warning about potential identity theft. If the earnings are much higher than your records show, it could indicate that someone has been illegally working with your Social Security number.
Statements also help you plan your retirement. You can see how much you can expect in monthly benefits, and how much more you could get by waiting until your “full” retirement age, rather than receiving benefits at age 62. For most people born in 1960 or later, retirement age is 67. And if you delay your benefits until you’re 70, your monthly payments get even higher.
How can I view my statement online?
If you are 18 years or older, you can create an online mySocialSecurity account. When you log in, you can view or print your statement online. You can also request an annual email reminder to log in and view your records.
What if I find an error on my statement?
According to SocialSecurity.gov, earnings can be “missing” for a variety of reasons. Your employer may have reported your earnings with the wrong Social Security number, or you may be married or divorced and changed your name, but forgot to report it to the agency.
The first thing to do is to collect evidence of the missing income, such as a W-2 payroll, pay slip, or tax return. If you don’t have any documents, write down your employer’s name, the dates you worked, how much you earned, and the name and Social Security number you used. Then contact Social Security to rectify the error. The process “may take some time” and involves contacting former employers, the agency says.
Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, urged people to at least keep their W-2 forms, in case they need them to correct their earnings record. If a former employer goes bankrupt, it can be difficult or impossible to get it later.