What You Need to Know about Your Annual Social Security Earnings Records

Each and every year, most taxpayers are accustomed to receiving a record of their Annual Social Security earning records in the mail. This statement provides individuals with information regarding the amount they have earned each year and a benefits estimate, showing how much the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay them at retirement age or if they become disabled.

In the past, these Social Security earnings records were automatically sent to workers who were age 25 or older. The statements would arrive approximately three months prior to a worker's birthday. This regular mailing of Social Security earnings records is a thing of the past, however, and workers will now need to take extra measures to find out how much they have paid into the Social Security system and how much their benefit amounts will be should they retire or become disabled.

The SSA will no longer be mailing these earnings records to individuals who are under the age of 60. If you are under 60 years of age and want to review your earnings record, you will have to go to the SSA's website to obtain your earnings and benefit estimate information. This new policy is intended to help the SSA save money. The paper that the mailings were printed on and the cost of postage may help the SSA address a portion of its current budget concerns.

Why are Earnings Records Important?

Now that Social Security earnings records are no longer being mailed automatically, many people overlook the importance of checking these records on an annual basis. It is crucial that you check your Social Security earnings record each year, ensuring that your personal information and earnings history is correct. If earnings are missing from the record, you may not receive all of the benefits you are entitled to when you retire or if you become disabled. If there are more earnings reflected on the record than there should be, it may mean that you have been the victim of identity theft and that someone else is using your Social Security number to obtain employment in the United States.

What Can You Do?

Getting a copy of your earnings record is actually a lot easier than many people may think. You will need to go to the Social Security website to download your Social Security earnings record rather than simply wait for it to come in the mail.

While there are still a few kinks to be worked out (including security issues) before this new online download option goes into full effect, the SSA is working hard to make the option live before the end of the year. If you are one of the many individuals who will not be receiving a paper copy of your Social Security earnings record this year, make sure you visit the SSA's website to review your statement and the accuracy of all of the information provided as soon as the option becomes available.