You can now get your personal Social Security Statement online at (www.socialsecurity.gov).
"Our new online Social Security Statement is simple, easy-to-use and provides people with estimates they can use to plan for their retirement," said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, when it became available this year. "The online Statement also provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. People should get in the habit of checking their online Statement each year, around their birthday, for example."
Providing information not previously available online, the statement shows earnings posted to your personal Social Security record. Work records are usually accurate but do look at yours and contact Social Security if there is a problem. This is important because SSA benefits are based on your lifetime earnings.
Howard I. Kossover
The online statement includes links to information about other online Social Security services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare.
Social Security automatically mails paper statements to people age 60 and older if they are not already receiving SSA benefits.
You must be age 18 or older to get your personal online statement and, for security, you must provide information about yourself that matches information already on file with Social Security. In addition, Social Security uses Experian, an external authentication service provider, for further verification. Social Security numbers will not be shared with Experian, but the identity check is an important part of this new, thorough verification process. When your identity is verified, you can create a "My Social Security" account with a unique user name and password to access your online Statement.
Go to (www.socialsecurity.gov/ mystatement) to learn about and obtain the new online Statement. See a sample statement and view a short video about the registration process there.
Having your personal Social Security Statement online adds to other tools already available at (www.socialsecurity.gov). For retirement information, go to (www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2). Use the Retirement Estimator at (www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator) , also connected to your actual work record, to compare SSA benefits at different ages or based on different earnings amounts. With that information, go to "Compute the effects of early or delayed retirement" at (www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc/early) to estimate amounts for specific months. You can also file for SSA benefits online.
Contact the Social Security Administration in several ways.
Visit the SSA website at (www.socialsecurity.gov) for information, retirement planning tools and online retirement and Medicare applications. Call the SSA national toll-free number 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. about your benefits or to make an appointment. To reach the Minot office directly, call 866-415-3193 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Questions of general interest can be sent to him at email@example.com. His online articles can be found at (www.socialsecurityinfo.areavoices. com).