Are Your Social Security Records Accurate?
Most everyone knows how important Social Security benefits are to financial security in retirement. Statistically, Social Security provides roughly half of all retirement income to retirees who had average lifetime earnings. While it may be a smaller percentage for higher income earners, it is still an important component and tends to be one of the few lifetime benefits that increase with inflation.
Social Security is also a program workers have paid into over their working lifetime. Making sure your Social Security records are accurate so you receive the full amount of benefits you are due only makes sense. The best way to accomplish this is to create a My Social Security account at www.ssa.gov. Once you create an account you can review your earnings records and projected benefits as well as update your personal information to keep your records accurate.
Checking your earnings record is an important step. You can review what the Social Security Administration shows as your earnings all the way back to 1951. While it may not seem like it would be a big deal if they got a year or two listed wrong, or missed a few years, it can have an impact on your benefit. That is because to calculate your monthly Social Security benefit the past 35 years of earnings are reviewed. The actual computation uses the highest 35 years of earnings, after adjusting (indexing) for changes in the national average wage over the worker’s lifetime.
So, you can see that even if there was an error in reporting from several years ago it can have an impact. An inaccurate report can be the result of a number of issues. Some employers fail to submit required earnings reports. Also, sometimes human error occurs when an employer makes a clerical error in reporting names and Social Security numbers or have inaccurate information on their records.
Another area that can be problematic is name changes. It is possible the Social Security Administration is not aware when a name change occurs. This can create a name / Social Security mismatch that can result in errors on the earnings report.
Setting up an online account is simple. It only takes a few minutes to establish an account, verify your identity and review your records. It is well worth the time as it may help you correct any errors now that can result in a more accurate and maybe even a larger benefit when you apply for Social Security.
Written by: Dennis Kelley, Managing Partner
These are the opinions of Dennis Kelley and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for information purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. Investing involves risk. Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal. The strategies discussed herein are not designed based on the individual needs of any one specific client or investor. In other words, it is not a customized strategy designed on the specific financial circumstances of the client. However, prior to opening an account, Cambridge will consult with you to determine if your financial objectives are appropriate for investing in the model. You are also provided the opportunity to place reasonable restrictions on the securities held in your account.
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