Social Security is not a welfare program, if you work, you are likely paying into it and the money you put in is what is paid out when you need it. Until recently, Social Security statements were sent out by mail to show what is owed back to you and how it could be paid out. The Social Security Administration (SSA) changed their policy in January of 2017, to save taxpayer money, and now they only mail workers that are 60 years old and over a statement once a year. Fortunately, the SSA has an online option to help everyone else that has been paying into the system.
Social Security Online
The SSA has made accessing your information so much easier by granting access to it online at their website. All you need to do is sign up and you can have instant access to all of your benefit information. Creating an account will help with planning for retirements, knowing how much has been set aside from your earnings and what would be available in case of disability. The site also includes information about survivor benefits for you or your family.
To create an account, visit My Social Security at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
From there, click the button that says sign in or create account. Near the bottom of the page is a button that says Create An Account, after clicking that, it will take you to a terms of agreement page. Read through the information and click the checkbox at the bottom to agree. From there it’s just a matter of providing some personal information to gain access to your statement information.
Social Security Statement by Mail
After an in-depth analysis of the costs involved in mailing statements to every earner that has contributed to social security was completed, the SSA discovered it could save over $11 million this year. Along with the stoppage of automatically sending statements through the mail, the SSA has also been required to reduce staffing. This makes the push to more online services necessary to augment the services that the previous staff level and mailings handled. This hasn’t reduced the need for Social Security statements when it comes to financial planning, and the SSA understands that some earners may not have internet access to see their information. To supplement this, there is a form provided by the SSA so that participants can still receive their earning information by mail. Stopping by a SSA field office to pick up the form or ask for more information is one way to find out the information you need. The other is to access the form on a computer from the Social Security online website.
Requesting this information by mail is not the same as checking your yearly earnings statement, as that specific information is only available online. Using the provided form, you need to determine what years of information you want included, and note that there is a charge for receiving information this way. The minimum fee is $115 to process the request, with an optional addition of certifying the information for another $33.
Ultimately, the SSA is moving towards a paperless system to save tax dollars, so they want you to begin using the online service to conduct as much business as possible. The more you familiarize yourself with the process now, the easier it will be in the future to work with the SSA. The SSA is shrinking in size while providing support for more people every day. To make it easier on yourself and the organization, learning to use the Social Security online services will help you stay on top of your benefits.