Access Your Social Security Statements Online

Brent Pittman —  08/23/2012
SSC

Photo Credit SurvivalWoman

A new government website makes it easy to access your Social Security statements online. In fact, this is now the only way (unless you’re over 60) to access your Social Security statements since they stopped sending them in May.

Yeah, I didn’t know either until I started to research this article. It’s going to save maybe $70 million per year by going to an online system. There are questions about the legality of this move and how this will hurt those in rural areas and minorities without interent access.

If you are over 60, you can opt to still receive statements by mail, but you’ll have to change your delivery options after you sign up online.

This is the new system, so let’s adapt and learn how to access our SS statements online. Sign up online is easy and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

You’ll need to have on hand: email address, Social Security number, U.S. mailing address, and be over 18.

Why Should I Check my Social Security Statement Online?

I’m glad you asked. The online social security information can be helpful in many ways.

First, the Social Security Administration has stopped mailing the statements, so this is the only way to access this important information.

Second ,it gives an idea of *estimated disability and retirement payments that can be used for retirement planning.

Third, it gives your lifetime reported social security earnings which should be double checked for accuracy.

This is a big deal according to a study by the Social Security Advisory Board:

“More than half of those who read the statement reported that as a result, they increased their savings rate or revised their financial plans for the future; 25 percent said they contacted a personal financial adviser.”-SSAB

Security & Process

They take security seriously and use Experian to verify your identity (read the privacy statement).

  • There is also a feature that will text your phone every time your online SSA account is accessed. The verification process is via: W-2, 1040 SE, last 8 digits of a credit/debit card, or the last direct deposit of Social Security benefits. [In my trial I was unable to authenticate my identity using a debit card, so maybe only credit cards work?]
  • You’ll go through a series of financial history and address questions to confirm your identity similar to getting your free credit report
  • Establish 3 standard security questions and answers.
  • Set a password that expires in 180 days for your Social Security login.

Dashboard

After you finally verify your identity and go through security you’ll able to access your Social Security statements online.

You’ll be able to:

  • Print and/or download your most current statement.
  • View your *estimated Social Security benefits for retirement and disability.
  • View a reported earnings record of your lifetime working history.
*The numbers given are estimated benefits and are current to change through new laws, future earnings, cost of living increases, etc. You won’t know your actual benefits until you qualify and apply.

Conclusion

I found it very beneficial to view my Social Security statement and it was one of the better government websites I’ve visited.

It gave me a reassurance that if I do die, my family will have an additional survivorship monthly payment along with my life insurance policy. It was also interesting to be able to view my life time earnings history in one place going back to high school. Wow! I’ve earned a lot of money over my lifetime.

I encourage you to access your Social Security statements online today. I think you’ll find it helpful and convenient, especially as you near retirement age.

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • I always liked when they came in the mail each year. Kind of a nice synopsis of our work lives.

  • Many Americans both live outside of the U.S. and are under 60. At present, as best I can determine, there’s now no way for them to get a Social Security statement. That does not seem right.

    • Kurt,
      Is it because of the U.S. mailing address? Why not send mail to family member and use their address for important U.S. mail–then should be able to use online access or am I missing something?

      • That might work Brent, I don’t know. But if doing so will make my brother’s (say) address my official SSA address, that still strikes me as being a problem. I’ll check it out.

  • krantcents

    I used to get these statements in the mail, but this is more convenient. This information becomes more important as we get closer to retirement.

  • AverageJoe

    Sweet. I’m revisiting my financial plan next week and I’ll need this information. Timely stuff, Brent!

    • I just thought it was a cool feature, but then realized that they stopped the yearly mailings…I don’t think many people know yet–my proof is in my Google Keyword search for this.