Social Security: Study Finds Creating a MySSA Account Before Retirement Is Key to Success
For Americans closing in on retirement age, one of the best moves you can make is to open a MySocialSecurity account online to help you track and estimate benefits. The problem is, not enough people seem to know about it, according to a report from the University of Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center.
The report, co-authored by the University of Southern California’s Lila Rabinovich and Francisco Perez-Arce, called MySocialSecurity, or MySSA, “a key online resource” offered by the Social Security Administration but said the number of people with a MySSA account “remains low.”
As GOBankingRates previously reported, a MySSA account gives you access to numerous features designed to make retirement easier. These include a calculator that lets you estimate the benefits you would receive under different scenarios as well as tools to check the accuracy of your earnings history. You will also be able to apply for benefits online.
From a security standpoint, a MySSA account lets you check activity associated with your Social Security number, which means you can find out if someone applies for benefits in your name or attempts to change your address or the bank account where your benefits are deposited.
This is a vital resource for those who are either retired or nearing retirement age. But they’re not the only ones who can benefit from it.
“For younger people especially, MySSA could be a potentially useful financial and retirement preparedness tool, by prompting individuals early and clearly about important information and actions for financial (especially retirement) planning, and by providing a salient shock to correct expectations about future retirement benefit amounts,” the Rabinovich/Perez-Arce report said.
Their analysis suggests that workers typically learn about MySSA when they are ready to become beneficiaries — meaning most users tend to be older.
There are four main reasons more people don’t create a MySSA account, according to the report:
(1) Lack of awareness of MySSA
(2) No perceived relevance/need
(3) Security and privacy concerns
(4) Low internet/computer literacy
That’s too bad, because those who do use MySSA tend to have positive experiences, according to interviews with users.
“When interviewees created or logged into an account, they found the MySSA platform to be clear, navigable, and relevant,” the authors wrote. “Nonretired, nonbeneficiary participants found the information on the platform to be particularly instructive and useful.”
You can set up a MySSA account online at the SSA.gov website. You’ll need your Social Security number, a U.S. mailing address and an email address to use the system.
More From GOBankingRates