Beginning in September, Social Security will resume sending out personalized benefit statements. These statements used to arrive via snail mail annually but were discontinued in 2011 when the budget was tight.
Social Security hasn't made any official announcements, but its press spokesmen have been telling reporters who ask that the new statements will go out only on key birthdays, in advance of ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 and older, and only to people who aren't receiving Social Security and who haven't registered for a personalized digital Social Security statement.
Social Security introduced the digital statements about the time it stopped sending paper statements. The agency saved an estimated $70 million annually.
These digital statements are a great retirement planning tool. If you haven't already done so, set up a personalized account at www.ssa.gov/mystatement. There you will be able to see all your key Social Security information, including how much you've paid in, how much your employers have contributed, and how much you are eligible to receive as a disability payment for you and your family, as well as how much you will qualify for in retirement benefits at ages 62, your full retirement age, and your maximum benefit at age 70.
Anyone 18 and older can sign up for one of these online accounts. Be prepared to type in your Social Security number, a mailing address and an email address. You'll also be asked some security questions about former employers and addresses. Your answers must match what Social Security or the credit agency Experian has on file. Experian manages Social Security's online security verification process. The questions aren't hard, but they aren't information that you are likely to have in your wallet. That's by design. If you don't get the answers right, you'll have to try again later or go to a Social Security office and verify your identity.
Once you have established the account, you can examine the numbers there or download a PDF of the entire report and stick it in your file cabinet in case you want to take a look in the future without going through the log-in process. Don't worry: Your Social Security number isn't on the PDF.
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