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Social Security benefits statements are available online

Posted by Andrew Chan  July 3, 2012 09:30 AM

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In May of last year, I mentioned how the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped automatically mailing paper benefits statements to those under the age of 60 (http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/managingyourmoney/archives/2011/05/social_security_9.html). At that time, if you were under age 60 and interested in receiving an estimate of your social security retirement benefits you had to specifically request a paper copy or obtain the information by using the SSA’s Benefit’s Estimator.

As of early last month, those benefits statements are available online through the SSA’s web site (http://ssa.gov/mystatement/). In order to access your statement you will need to create an account through the SSA web site using your personal information. According to the SSA, your account will provide you with information about the following:

- Estimates of the retirement and disability benefits you may receive;
- Estimates of benefits your family may get when you receive Social Security or die;
- A list of your lifetime earnings according to Social Security’s records;
- The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid;
- Information about qualifying and signing up for Medicare;
- Things to consider for those age 55 and older who are thinking of retiring;
- General information about Social Security for everyone;
- The opportunity to apply online for retirement and disability benefits; and
- A printable version of your Social Security Statement.

The information from these statements - regardless of how to receive it - can be valuable in your financial planning or retirement planning process for a couple of reasons. First, it will provide you with an estimate of the retirement, disability, and survivor benefits that you are likely to receive. Secondly, it provides you with the earnings history that the SSA uses to calculate your benefits. It’s important to check (and correct, if necessary) your earnings history to ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
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