For many of us, Social Security has a part in our financial plans for retirement or later stage of life. Even if you’re years away from applying for benefits, there are some good reasons why you should set up your online Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
You can go online to ensure there aren’t any gaps in your earnings. Why is that important? Because the amount you receive from Social Security will be based on how much you’ve earned over your working career. Many people, especially those who follow boomers, change jobs frequently. It’s always a possibility that an employer will fail to report your earnings. You’ll want to fix that as soon as possible, so you aren’t shortchanged when you finally apply for benefits.
You’ll protect yourself against fraud. By setting up a Social Security account, you’ll prevent anyone else from doing so. Much like income tax fraud, this is an identity theft crime where someone sets up a Social Security account and files for benefits in your name. You don’t want to wait until you retire (at whatever age) and find that someone else is collecting your hard-earned benefits. The most effective way to prevent that is to create your own account.
You can easily replace a lost or stolen Social Security card – for free. With an online account, there’s no need to sit through traffic to get to your local office and wait in line for a new card. You can also download a printable copy of your Social Security 1099/Benefit Statement, the tax form SSA mails each year in January. No need to wait.
If you already receive Social Security, you’ll still benefit from having an online account. You can set up or change direct deposit or address information and get a benefit verification letter, which you may need if you’re applying for, say, a loan. You’ll also be able to check the status of your Social Security benefit application or claim from anywhere you can safely log in to your account.
If you’re wondering about the role of Social Security benefits in your retirement plans or how much income you’ll need in retirement, call our office. We can help you evaluate your financial plan to ensure you’re on track to achieve the retirement you envision.