Q & A
How do I get a benefits statement from Social Security? I haven’t gotten one in the mail in years.
Complete Question: I kind of remember getting an estimated benefits statement from Social Security in the mail every year, but I can’t remember when I got the last one. Should I be concerned? I heard I might be able to check this information online, is that something I should do?
Answer: You should not be concerned at all. In order to save administrative costs, the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped mailing the annual paper statements you are referring to. However, in 2014 the law changed again and now people will receive a statement every 5 years at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55. People who are 60 and older will get a paper statement every year. This new rule ONLY applies to people who do NOT have an online account. So if you sign up for an online account (called MySocialSecurity) you will no longer receive a paper statement, regardless of your age.
The SSA strongly encourages having a MySocialSecurity account because it is relatively quick and easy. You can check your estimated benefits, view and verify your annual earnings, change your mailing address, manage your direct deposit, etc.
Once you receive your statement, whether in the mail or online, you should review it for accuracy. After all, the earnings record on the statement is what will determine your benefit amount when you decide to retire. If any earnings earlier than the year before are incorrect, call the SSA at 800-772-1213 from 7am-7pm and be sure to have your W-2 ready. Keep in mind that anything from the current or prior year may not have been processed and updated yet. This is another advantage to having an online statement – you can check it at any time as often as you would like.