Why you should get to know the Social Security website – even before you retire – Community News
Social Security

Why you should get to know the Social Security website – even before you retire

Your account with Social Security, known to SSA as “my social security”, has recently undergone some changes.

Previously, you could view and download the old well-known paper statement – the one that has been around for a long time and was sent to you by post once a year. That’s all changed now, and if you get a copy in the mail, you’re outnumbered.

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These days, all the cool kids look at their social security and other data online. You can still view and print the statement if you wish, but the statement itself has also undergone a makeover.

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The first item you see on your my social security account is the link for your social security statement. This replaces the original statement that used to be sent once a year.

If you were familiar with the old statement, you will notice some major changes with the new one. First, it is now only two pages long, while the old one was four. The new statement is also more visually appealing, as it features a chart on the first page showing your potential benefits at different ages. Previously, this information was summarized as just a few different points (at age 62 or your current age if you are older, at full retirement age and at age 70), but now you can see the effect on your potential benefit for each year postponement in file age.

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The first page has a warning that your potential benefits may be different if you participate in a retirement plan or pension that wasn’t covered by Social Security taxes (more on this later).

The following section provides information about your entitlement to Social Security benefits. Here you will find an indication of whether you have currently earned enough credits (quarter credits) to qualify for Social Security benefits. Typically, you must earn 40 quarterly credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. This number may be lower for disability benefits if you are younger.

Included in this section is an important statement indicating that the projections presented by the chart to the right are based on the assumption that your Social Security income from your most recently reported year will continue at the same rate until at least the filing age indicated in the graph. If your earnings are more or less than the most recent sample (actual amount listed), then your potential benefit may be more or less.

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This is followed by a statement about your right to disability benefit. As mentioned above, depending on your age, you may qualify for disability benefits with fewer quarterly earnings credits than the typical 40 required for retirement benefits. The amount of disability benefits, if you qualify, is also listed.

After the section on disability, you will find a section on possible survivor benefits that may be available to your surviving spouse (in two possible situations, either as a mother or father benefit while caring for your child under 16, or simply as a surviving spouse without young children) and benefits for your dependents who are under the age of 18 or who are disabled. Finally, in this section you will find a total amount of family benefits that may be a limiting factor for your family members who receive benefits based on your income statement.

The last item on this first page is a summary of your eligibility for Medicare benefits, including the age and fitness restrictions for eligibility. Here you will find information about the timing of your Medicare enrollment and how to find more information to enroll.

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On page 2 of your overview you will find information about your lifetime earnings. This section of the summary is a summary of the full revenue records. Your early years of income are compounded by decades, showing only the total amount of income subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Your last decade of income is usually listed from year to year, which is helpful to review to make sure there are no recent issues with the amounts Social Security has kept on your file.

If you need the full year-by-year list of your earnings data, all you need to do is go back to the my social security account and scroll down a bit to the link “View your full earnings record now”; this will give you a list of all the years of your earnings that have been registered with social security, in case you need to correct any issues.

The following on the statement is a summary of the amount of taxes you and your employer paid based on your earnings over your lifetime. Often this is a surprising amount – it has been a lot of money over the years. However, if you put the tax figures in the context of the benefit amounts listed on the first page, it’s actually a good deal – assuming you live long enough to receive the benefits for a while.

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In the right-hand column of page 2, you’ll find information alluded to at the outset: If you had income that was not covered by Social Security taxes and that income provided a pension (or other retirement benefit), the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) can reduce your retirement benefit. lower for social security. In a similar way (but calculated very differently), if you receive such a pension from a government agency while also receiving Social Security benefits based on someone’s record (such as your spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse), then the Government Pension Compensation (GPO) may affect the amount of your benefit.

The very last part of the statement will give you great information and insight into how Social Security benefits work, for you, your spouse and your family members, if they qualify. There are also references to websites that you may want to check out to learn more about your potential benefits.

Go back to the my social security account page, next to the page after the statement is a link to a factsheet called “Retirement Ready”. This fact sheet gives you a brief overview of what you need to know as you approach retirement age.

There is another link available that talks about what you need to know about WEP and GPO, if you have had income that was not covered by Social Security.

There is also a link you can use to access the form to request a replacement Social Security card if you have lost yours.

Finally, this section also allows you to provide a letter from Social Security confirming whether or not you are receiving Social Security benefits. Some other benefit applicants or agencies may require this attestation letter.

The next step is a graphical representation of your quarterly credits earned – showing where you stand in terms of your entitlement to benefits. Just below this chart is the link to view your full earnings summary that I mentioned earlier.

The next section, arguably the most valuable section, is a planning tool you can use to model various changes in your circumstances. Initially, this tool will show your potential Social Security retirement benefits based on the assumptions Social Security makes when projecting benefits. This includes the fact that your earnings will remain the same from now on until your “retirement”, and that you will work and earn at that rate until the date your Social Security retirement benefits begin.

These factors can be adjusted – you can model a larger or smaller amount of income, as well as model the inclusion of your spouse’s Social Security benefits, which can help you discover whether or not the spousal benefits apply to you or your spouse. This can be a low-cost, high-level overview to help you decide when to apply for Social Security retirement benefits.

This section also contains a link to start your application for retirement benefits, as well as more information about what you will need when applying for benefits.

After the planning tool, you’ll find information about disability benefits, Medicare benefits, and other information that may be helpful to you when planning your retirement.