The United States Social Security program pays several types of benefits to eligible individuals. Among these are benefits for retired workers, their spouses and children, and benefits for surviving immediate family members of deceased workers. Individuals receiving benefits can get benefit verification letters and access benefit and payment information online. Those who are not can estimate their retirement benefits and access their Social Security Statements online.
In the past, the Social Security Administration mailed annual benefits statements to working individuals contributing to this program. Each statement included annual earnings records to-date and estimated Social Security benefits. Details about how Social Security benefits were estimated and general facts regarding Social Security were also provided.
For budgetary reasons, these statements are no longer mailed. However, they are accessible online by signing up for a free “my Social Security” account on the official Social Security website. Millions of people use this account to track and verify their annual earnings, view estimates of future Social Security benefits if they are still working, or access letters serving as proof of benefits currently received. Address changes and direct deposit initiation or changes may also be made through this account.
It is fast, easy, and safe to establish a “my Social Security” account. To do so, an individual must be at least 18 years old and have a Social Security number, U.S. mailing address, and valid email address. An individual may not create an account on behalf of another person or by supplying identifying information of another individual. Failure to adhere to these rules may subject and individual to civil and/or criminal penalties.
A victim of identity theft or domestic violence or have other reasons to worry about access to his or her information can block electronic access to these details for any reason at any time. This will prevent anyone, himself or herself included, from viewing or changing his or her personal information through the Social Security Administration automated telephone service or the Internet. If an individual blocks access and later wishes to revoke this election, he or she must contact the Social Security Administration.
Whether individuals are planning for retirement, already retired, or exercising their Social Security disability rights, they should consider creating “my Social Security” accounts. Those who have questions about Social Security entitlement or benefits should review the information on the Social Security website, contact a Social Security office, or consult a Social Security disability lawyer. Each of these parties offers assistance every step of the way.