Remember the Social Security earnings estimates that showed up in the mail on your birthday? They’ve been replaced.
Six months ago, the Social Security Administration instituted an on-line process for accessing the information you used to receive automatically via the postal service. Unless you’re over age 60 and not yet getting social security benefits, or age 25 and receiving your initial statement, from now on you’ll need to go to the SSA dot-gov web site to view your account.
Here’s how the new process works.
You set up an account on a secure web page by providing personal information that matches what the SSA already has on file, along with additional data that’s checked by Experian, a credit information company. When Experian has verified your identity (without being given your social security number), you create a user name and password, then access your new account.
After you’ve gotten that far, you can choose from multiple options. Information you can view and print includes a by-year listing of the social security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid, your lifetime earnings record, the retirement and disability benefits that may be available to you, what your family could receive when you’re eligible to collect social security, and estimates of disability and survivors benefits.
The new system requires more effort on your part, and you may be wondering why you should bother. The answer: For the same reasons you check your credit reports on a regular basis–to prevent and correct errors, and to keep an eye on your financial identity. As always, the responsibility for your financial security rests with you.