Whether you’re entering your 60s or still decades away from retirement, creating a my Social Security account with the SSA (Social Security Administration) is a great idea. Setting up your online account with the SSA can help you keep track of your benefits, earnings history, and much more. In this post, we’ll cover eight of the top reasons you should set up your account as soon as possible.
Prevent fraud and identity theft by claiming your account
If criminals obtain your Social Security number, they may try to open a my Social Security account in your name and redirect your benefits to an account they control. But if you open your my Social Security account now, you can help prevent this scenario, since any individual you can only have one my Social Security account open per Social Security number. You can also identify whether anyone has already tried to file a claim for benefits in your name, giving you a chance to correct the fraud now before it grows into a bigger problem.
Verify that your earnings on record are correct
Social Security statements provide an individual’s earnings history and projections of their future benefit amount, which is based on their 35 highest-paid years in the workforce. Click here to view a sample Social Security statement.
As of 2023, the only people who receive Social Security statements by mail are those aged 60 and older who aren’t receiving benefits and don’t have a my Social Security account. Regardless of how old you are, you can get your Social Security statement online by creating a my Social Security account. And by doing so, you can check your record of annual earnings to verify its accuracy. If your Social Security earnings record is incorrect and any of your earnings are underreported, you can then correct the mistake — so long as you’re within the time limit.
The Social Security Administration allows you to correct a record up to three years, three months and 15 days after the year in which you earned the income. Setting up a my Social Security account now lets you begin verifying your earnings record on an annual basis and prevent you from running into this three-year deadline.
View your benefit verification letter anytime, anywhere
Many individuals need easy and secure access to their social security benefits verification letters in order to complete various tasks. Fortunately, there is now a convenient online tool that allows you to view and print your benefits verification letter anytime, anywhere - eliminating the hassle of having to wait on the mail or in line at social security. By providing quick and reliable access to your social security document, it’s never been easier to stay informed regarding your social security status. Take the time today to verify your social security benefits by utilizing this great resource.
See estimated future benefits based on different retirement scenarios.
Knowing what social security benefits you will have access to in the future can be a great way to plan for retirement. With my Social Security, the US social security administration's online service, you can view your estimated benefits in various retirement scenarios. This makes planning for retirement simpler and easier as it allows users to adjust their future social security benefits through testing out different scenarios and seeing how they could affect their life in the future. Ultimately, this tool helps users form a clearer understanding of how social security figures into their retirement plans, but it should be noted that this is a simple tool that might not meet the scenario planning needs of high net worth individuals and families. If you fit in this category (anything over $850k in net worth), you may want to consult a professional financial advisor to perform advanced scenario planning for you.
You can better plan for retirement
From a retirement-planning perspective, it’s extremely beneficial to know your projected benefit amount before you near retirement. This helps you better understand what supplemental income you’ll need to have from sources such as savings accounts, 401(k)s and investment accounts, as well as when you should begin to take your Social Security benefits.
With my Social Security, the US social security administration's online service, you can view your estimated benefits in various retirement scenarios. This makes planning for retirement simpler and easier as it allows users to adjust their future social security benefits through testing out different scenarios and seeing how they could affect their life in the future. Ultimately, this tool helps users form a clearer understanding of how social security figures into their retirement plans, but it should be noted that this is a simple tool that might not meet the scenario planning needs of individuals and families. You may want to consult a professional financial advisor to perform advanced scenario planning for you.
When you take Social Security depends on a number of factors, including taxes, future income sources, estimated cash flow needs, current and future healthcare needs, your spouse’s benefit amount, whether you’re widowed or divorced, and whether you’ll continue to work until you reach your full retirement age. Because individuals under age 60 don’t receive Social Security statements in the mail, you should sign up for a my Social Security account now so you can view your projected benefit and start using it in your retirement planning. We recommend working with a financial advisor to review your full financial picture, plan for different scenarios and help you achieve your financial goals.
You can manage your most important benefits more securely.
my Social Security is an easy and secure way to stay on top of your benefits. It offers convenient access anytime, with features like secure messaging services and account alerts that can keep you informed of changes to benefits or account activity that require your attention. In addition, my Social Security also provides sophisticated tools such as where you can check your earnings record and get estimates of future retirement benefits. With my Social Security, you can have more confidence knowing you and your financial advisor (if you work with one) stay in control over the future of your financial security.
Get important notifications and deadlines electronically from the SSA
You can sign up for electronic notifications to stay informed about your benefit payments and other important messages from the SSA. When you sign up, you will receive email or text message alerts about your payments, filing deadlines, and other important information from SSA. You can also manage your preferences online to ensure that you are always getting the most up-to-date information. This is an easy and convenient way to stay informed about all of your SSA benefits and requirements. With electronic notifications, you won’t have to worry about missing important messages from the SSA. \
You can apply directly for your Social Security Benefits
It used to be the case that your only two options to apply for your benefit were 1) visiting a Social Security office for an in-person interview or 2) conducting a phone interview. Now, if you have a my Social Security account, you can use it to apply to begin receiving your benefit, your spousal benefit or your divorced spousal benefit. With the convenience that comes from applying online, you can start the application and come back to it later. Plus, you can avoid waiting hours on the phone just to schedule your interview (although you won’t have the benefit of walking through everything with a professional if you take the online route).
Note that you cannot file for other benefits (such as survivor benefits, parent benefits or child-in-care spousal benefits) using my Social Security; those still require a phone interview.
The bottom line
Keeping track of your benefits and ensuring that your contact information is up-to-date with the Social Security Administration should be at the top of your to-do list. After all, these are important financial benefits that you or your family may need to rely on in the future. Fortunately, thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever to do just that – all from the comfort of your own home.
And if you have any questions along the way, our team of financial advisors at Savvy Wealth are here to help guide individuals through the process step by step.