Thursday, July 26, 2012

Checking Your Social Security Benefit Estimate Online

The Social Security Administration is now making your estimated benefits statements available online.  To save money they stopped mailing statements last year, though they resumed mailing them this year if you are 60 or older.  They will also mail a paper statement in the year you turn 25 with a notice to login online.  Here is a link to the press release describing the change.

The estimated benefit statement is the statement showing your annual earnings history and your estimated monthly payment if you retire at your “full” retirement age (based on your year of birth), or if you retire early, at age 62 or defer to age 70 in today’s dollars. It also tells you what your survivor benefits will be and your benefits if you become disabled.

Here is the link to the site to register; you will need to answer a few questions to authenticate your identity. It took me about 5 minutes to complete the registration process and it reminded me how much of one’s life is public knowledge.

We suggest you periodically go to the site to review your earnings history and make sure it is at least roughly correct.  From a planning perspective, it is a very good idea to know your estimated benefit amount.  It will help you and your advisor in making investment or retirement planning decisions.  But it is a very rough estimate as the Social Security Administration points out.