Many people don’t realize that Social Security stopped mailing out annual Statements in 2011, but indeed they did. Citing budget concerns and a little-used ‘emergency’ ruling stating that it’s okay for the Social Security Administration to stop fulfilling one of its legally-mandated functions if doing so could potentially bankrupt the agency or impair its ability to fulfill its primary function, Social Security stopped sending out individual Social Security Statements. In fact, they also ceased fulfilling requests for statements received by mail or telephone, and disabled their online ordering service. The only way you could obtain your Statement was to go down to your local Social Security Office and tell them you had an ‘urgent need’ for the information!
Now, Social Security has (finally!) rolled out online (and IMMEDIATE) access to your Statement, including your earnings history, estimated benefit amounts, and eligibility information. And fortunately, they have made it incredibly easy!
All you need is:
- your own personal information (full name, Social Security number, date of birth, mailing address, phone number)
- and working email address.
Start at Social Security’s website. On the left-hand menu, go to ‘Get Your Social Security Statement Online’, and follow the prompts. Social Security uses a program called Experian to verify your personal data, so be prepared to answer some interesting multiple-choice questions, including
- phone numbers and addresses that you may have used in the past,
- dates that you opened specific credit accounts,
- or where you send your mortgage payment.
You can also choose an added layer of security, by asking Social Security to send a text message to your mobile device anytime you log in to your account.
Note, however, you are actually setting up a ‘my Social Security’ account – – the same type of account that people RECEIVING benefits have – – not just accessing a Statement. Please be prepared to keep track of your login information, as you not only may need to access your Statement again over the years as new earnings are posted, but you may also one day need this account to set up your own Medicare, Retirement, or Disability benefits. Keep this login information in a safe and secure location, and do not share it with others to maintain your security.