The Simple Social Security Move We All Need to Make Right Now

Make sure you get the Social Security cash you've earned.

If you’re not regularly checking your Social Security account, you could be leaving money on the table.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a lot to keep track of, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that mistakes and errors can happen with the agency’s nearly 62 million beneficiaries, as of 2017. But even if you’re not a current beneficiary and filing for Social Security is still many years away for you, you could be missing out on Social Security cash.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Miss Out on Social Security Benefits

To create your Social Security account, simply go to ssa.gov and click “Sign in/up” to create a “my Social Security” account. Through your free and personalized “my Social Security” online portal, you can request document replacements and access valuable financial planning information, such as:

  • Your estimated anticipated retirement benefits for when your retirement does arrive.
  • Your disability benefit eligibility to see how much you’d receive if you were to become disabled and if you qualify for benefits.  
  • Your survivor benefits qualification should you die unexpectedly — this communicates whether your dependents would be able to collect and how much they would receive.    
  • Your Medicare eligibility for your 65th birthday.

Find Out: Social Security Hacks the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know

This financial planning information is critical — but above all else, you’ll want to check your Social Security account statement for accuracy. The SSA reports that, on average, it processes about 236 million W-2 wage reports from employers, representing more than $5 trillion in earnings. The agency maintains that 98 percent of American wages are processed flawlessly and, although that sounds like a high margin of accuracy, it means that nearly 5 million mistakes are made each year. Remember that any and all discrepancies directly translate to how much you’re living on during your golden years.

Know: 20 Unsettling Things You Need to Know About Social Security

To calculate your entitled Social Security benefit amount, the SSA looks at your lifetime career earnings and then indexes each year’s total for inflation. It then takes your 35 highest-earning years and uses a formula to determine your benefit.

If you discover an error during your deep dive, the SSA requests that you call 800-772-1213 immediately. American expats are instructed to contact their nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate or write to:

Social Security Administration
Office of Earnings & International Operations
P.O. Box 17769
Baltimore, MD 21235-7769, USA

Click through to read more about the first thing you should be doing with your Social Security check.

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