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What is the Social Security Benefits Statement?

Although people are encouraged to set up my Social Security accounts at the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website, the agency currently mails hard copies of individuals’ Social Security statements to workers over age 60 who are not currently receiving benefits and do not have online accounts.

The Social Security statement shows your current earnings and provides you with estimates of your retirement benefits. Once you’ve set up you’re my Social Security account, you can see estimates of what your retirement benefits would look like under a variety of scenarios. Additionally, you can review your complete earnings history and make sure that the information is accurate.

In fact, you should check the accuracy of your information on a regular basis. Doing so will allow you to correct minor errors before they become large ones, and you’ll be better able to plan for your retirement if you can rely on the benefits estimates.

The benefits estimator will show you what your benefits will be if you start collecting early at age 62, if you wait until you’ve reached full retirement age (FRA), or if you wait to collect until you are 70 years old. It will also provide you with estimates of what your future retirement benefits could be if your income increases from what it is currently. It also provides estimates of disability and survivor benefits that you and your family could be eligible for, should you become unable to work or die.

Form SSA-1099 (SSA-1042S for non-citizens who live outside the United States) is a tax form that Social Security mails each year in January to people who currently receive Social Security benefits. It will state the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so that you can determine how much Social Security income you need to report to the IRS on your upcoming income tax return.

You can obtain your Social Security statement as long as you are at least 25-years-old. If you think that your statement contains errors, call Social Security as soon as you can at 1.800.772.1213, or, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1.800.325.0778. A representative will be able to help you Monday through Friday from 7AM – 7PM. If you are having trouble getting through to someone, try calling earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, later in the week, or later in the month when the representatives are less likely to be busy.

Please note that if you need a replacement form, they will typically be available for the previous tax year after February 1st. And the forms are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.