11 May Is Your SSA Statement Accurate?
Did you recently receive your Social Security Wage and Benefits report? Did you take a close look at it?
We assume the money deducted each payday and an equal amount paid in by our employer, or that we as owners pay on our earnings is applied properly to this valuable retirement benefit. The government wouldn’t make a mistake in recording our career-long earnings, right?
Audit benefits NOW
The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives a vast amount of paperwork each year. They can and do make errors and omissions. Unfortunately, the only way these problems are caught is if YOU catch them. Waiting until retirement may be too late to correct an error made 10, 20, 30+ years back.
Common problems and their impact are:
- Incorrect amounts. If the SSA does not receive a W-2 wage statement from an employer, you will not see the credit for these earnings. Result: Your Social Security retirement check amount averages your lifetime earnings. If you have earnings that are missing, your retirement check will be permanently lower!
- Missing earnings. In addition to receiving credit for earnings, you also need to work a certain number of quarters to be eligible for retirement benefits. These missing earnings reports reduce your number of working quarters. Mess up here and you may not qualify for benefits at all!
- The three-year correction time limit. Per the SSA, an earnings record can be corrected at any time up to three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which the wages were paid or the self-employment income was derived. While there are exceptions for fraud and obvious clerical errors, why risk the hassle by not finding errors and fixing them when they happen?
Take action now
Thankfully, it is now easier to confirm the accuracy of your account as the SSA has an online tool that allows you to review your historic earnings statements online at www.ssa.gov.
If you see an error in your statement, you should immediately correct it. You can do this by contacting the SSA:
By mail: Social Security Administration Office of Earnings Operations, PO Box 33026, Baltimore, MD 21290-3026
Since you received a W-2 earlier this year, make reviewing your Social Security retirement account part of your annual tax filing experience.