Yesterday, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that taxpayers can get their benefit statement online. This is the same statement they had mailed out for years.Taxpayers just need to go through the registration process and once their identity has been verified, they can see what their retirement benefits will be based on their recent info. They can also review their contribution history for incorrect and missing information.
Setting up an account is a little more complicated than most websites since SSA is using info from Experian to verify the taxpayer’s identity. (And you do have to be at least 18 to sign up.) The process begins with a brief terms of service requirement. Happily, it is written in real world language and is short. There were 3 basic steps. The first wanted my full name, address, phone and SSN as Social Security would have it. The second step involved asking questions based on my credit rating through Experian. One asked the number of months my car loan was and another asked about a bank I used. (SSA notes that this info is not stored by them. It is simply verified and removed from memory.) The final step in the process was to set up a username and password for later access to my SS statement. I also had to provide an e-mail address and some security questions just in case I forget my password. It wasn’t hard and only took a few minutes. But if there has been a problem and my identity couldn’t have been verified online, I would have had the option of requesting my statement my mail. Or, I could have visited my local Social Security office with proper ID and set up an account there.
This is a great statement to have if you are doing retirement or tax planning. And everyone should check their statement every few years to make sure that what Social Security has what they earned. SSA uses the W-2 info employers send out, not what is on your tax return. If it doesn’t match, you can take steps to correct the problem.
A quick note for taxpayers over 60, the SSA is sending out statements again to those close to retirement but not yet drawing SS. Later in the year they are planning to begin sending out statements to taxpayers when they hit 25 years old.