By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
You work hard for your money. You’re saving and planning for a secure retirement. Now you need to make sure you’re going to get all the money you deserve. Regularly reviewing your Social Security earnings record can really pay off, especially when every dollar counts in retirement.
If an employer did not properly report just one year of your work earnings to us, your future benefit payments from Social Security could be close to $100 per month less than they should be. Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled. Sooner is definitely better when it comes to identifying and reporting problems with your earnings record. As time passes, you may no longer have easy access to past tax documents, and some employers may no longer be in business or able to provide past payroll information.
It’s ultimately the responsibility of your employers — past and present — to provide accurate earnings information to Social Security so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. But you can inform us of any errors or omissions. You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct.
So, what’s the easiest and most efficient way to validate your earnings record?
- Visit socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to set up or sign in to your own my Social Security account;
- Under the “My Home” tab, select “Earnings Record” to view your online Social Security Statement and taxed Social Security earnings;
- Carefully review each year of listed earnings and use your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns, to confirm them;
- Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet; and
- Notify us right away if you spot errors by calling 1-800-772-1213.
More detailed instructions on how to correct your Social Security earnings record can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf.
Securing today and tomorrow requires accuracy and diligence on our part and yours. You’ll be counting on Social Security when you reach retirement age. Make sure you’re getting every dollar you’ve earned. You can access us any time at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com