The Social Security Administration portal “my social security” allows you to apply for and manage all your social security benefits online.
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A free my Social Security account provides personalized tools that you can use whether or not you are currently receiving benefits. You can use your account to apply for a replacement Social Security card, check the status of an existing application, estimate how many future benefits you will receive, or manage the benefits you are already receiving.
One of the main reasons for setting up an online account is that Social Security is the only place where you can see estimates of the future benefits – based on your actual earnings – you could receive once you start taking benefits.
You can check if Social Security has your correct current earnings through the my social security portal. Social Security typically takes 35 years to estimate your benefit, meaning it’s up to you to make sure this information is correct to ensure you receive the largest benefit possible.
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The SSA has set up a full retirement age calculator to show citizens when they qualify for full, unabridged benefits. The full retirement age is also referred to as the “normal retirement age,” which was 65 for many years. In 1983, Congress passed a law to gradually increase the full retirement age for people born in or after 1938, as people live longer and healthier lives in old age than when the retirement age was initially set. From the 1938 birth year, the retirement age is gradually increased by several months for each birth year until 1960, when full retirement age reaches 67.
The My Social Security portal also shows estimates for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits that you and your family may be eligible for.
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Another great advantage of the online portal is its easy access to Medicare resources and the ability to apply for Medicare benefits. You can also appeal a decision on Medicare benefits through this portal.
The portal also allows you to change your address, set up or change direct deposit information for benefits, print proofs of benefits, and print your 1099 forms.
Since earnings are different for everyone and the process of receiving Social Security benefits in general can be confusing, using the online portal is an important part of managing your benefits. Should there be a discrepancy between what the estimator and the online portal show you, and the actual amount you receive in a check, you can use your online statements to support a dispute.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The SSA Has An Online Social Security Portal – Here’s Why You Should Be Using It