Prior to mid-2011, the Social Security Administration would mail out an annual benefit statement to all covered workers. For a brief time between 2014 and 2017, the administration resumed mailing to workers periodically. Today, they mail statements only to workers age 60 and over who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits and do not yet have a my Social Security account. These statements are sent approximately three months prior to your birthday. The mailing changes were implemented as a cost saving measure.
We suggest creating an account at my Social Security to gain access to your statement and benefits online. You must be able to verify some information about yourself and meet the following criteria:
- Have a valid email address
- Have a Social Security number
- Have a U.S. mailing address and
- Be at least 18 years of age
Remember to save your username and password in a safe place. If, for some reason, you are denied access to set up an online account, you should visit your closest Social Security office to resolve the issue.
Once you have created an account, you can click on ‘View Earnings Benefits’. This is helpful for retirement planning because it shows your estimated monthly benefits if you applied early, at full retirement, or delayed. The amount at full retirement age is often called the PIA amount or “Primary Insurance Amount”. When viewing your statement, you can print the form or download to save in an electronic format.
From the ‘My Home’ tab, you will also want to check your Earnings Record by clicking on ‘View Earnings Record’. Social Security benefits are based on your average monthly earnings during the highest 35 years of your working career. The monthly earnings are indexed to inflation and a formula is applied to determine your benefit.
We suggest you check your my Social Security account and your Earnings Record each year after you file your taxes to make sure your data is correct. Instructions are provided on how to notify Social Security if you find any discrepancies.
The Retirement Benefits Calculator can also be a helpful way to see what your benefits will be at various retirement ages and allows you to adjust your estimated future earnings.
In addition to accessing your statement, the website also provides the ability to verify or change the bank account where your Social Security check is deposited. Keep in mind that Social Security checks are not sent in the mail and are only electronically processed.