Social benefits are earned based on the taxes you pay during your career. Since your hard work entitles you to this pension income – and as it will be an important source of funding to help you support yourself after paychecks stop – it is crucial that you get every penny you are entitled to.
That is why it is so important to perform a simple two-minute task every year.
This social security task must be ticked on your to-do list
A crucial but simple task you should perform throughout your life to avoid shrinking yours Social Security Benefit involves making sure you get credit for all the income you earn.
See, you pay social security tax on your salary, up to a certain income limit called “wage base limit“Since this limit is $ 147,000 in 2022 (and is the inflation-adjusted equivalent of this amount each year), most people will be taxed on their entire annual salary. Employers withhold these taxes and report your income to the Social Security Administration.
SSA then keeps a current statement of your earnings. And when the time comes, it adjusts wages over your career to take inflation into account, and then gives you a standard benefit equal to a percentage of the average wage for the 35 years your earnings were highest.
The problem is that your benefits will be accurate only if your employer reports all your wages correctly and Social Security documents them correctly. And it does not happen in all situations, as mistakes can be made. If you do not want to see a reduction in your benefits due to bad data, you should check your earnings every year.
How to check your earnings
The good news is that checking your payroll history takes two minutes or less and is very simple, so there is no excuse for not doing so. All you have to do is log in mySocialSecurity gov.
If this is your first time, create an account by entering some basic credentials and choosing a username and password. If you have already signed up, you can just log in and confirm your identity by receiving a security code via email.
Once you have logged in, you must accept the “Terms of Service” and you will be taken to the main page where you can click on “Review your full earnings now.” You should see a list of each work year in which you have received a salary reported to the Social Security Administration as well as salaries reported for that year. By using this information, you can confirm that the correct amount of earnings was reported.
If you have never checked your earnings, you would like to go as far back as possible by comparing reported income with the amount you know you have earned. This could mean digging out old tax records and paperwork. However, once you get used to confirming your salary each year, only check the most recent year.
If you discover an error, it’s the best way to act quickly to correct it while you still have all your documents. It will be much easier than doing it in a few decades when you retire and find that your benefit is lower than expected. That’s the big reason it’s worth two minutes a year to confirm that Social Security has the right information to give you the full payments you deserve.