The days of getting a Social Security statement in the mail have come to an end. At least for everyone under 60 years old. About a year ago the Social Security Administration stopped sending annual statements to save money on budget cuts. It worked. But it left several million people without easy access to their statements.
This all changed when the Social Security Administration updated its website to provide online statements. While your Social Security statement is finally available online, you do have to sign up for a My Social Security account at the SSA site, first.
The process isn’t as easy as the website claims. We hit a few stumbling blocks along the way. And in the process, thought it was a good idea to put together a step by step guide on how to create a My Social Security account and access your Social Security statement online.
What Your Social Security Statement Provides
Your Social Security statement provides the basic information about the Social Security program. It also contains your specific information about:
- Your estimates for retirement or disability benefits
- Your family’s estimated benefits when you receive Social Security or die
- Social Security’s records of your lifetime earnings
- Your estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes paid
- How to qualify and sign up for Medicare
Each Social Security statement also provides several things to consider if you choose an early retirement and the benefit of waiting.
Why Sign Up For Online Statements?
The easy answer is if you are not 60 years or older you won’t receive a statement in the mail. This leaves your earnings history unchecked for too long. Something that should be done every year.
It only takes a few minutes to fill out the required information. Once done, you’ll be able to double-check your statement, your earnings history and make sure all the information is correct.
It’s easier to check and fix any information now, then when you retire. Once your My Social Security account is set up, you can easily apply for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits online too.
Get Your Social Security Statement Online
Before we get started you will need some information handy to verify that you are actually you:
- a valid email address
- your Social Security number
- a valid U.S. mailing address
- you’re at least 18 years old
If at any time you think you made a mistake, just click Exit and start over.
Head over to the SSA website and hit the Sign In or Create an Account button. This will take you to a secure page for new and existing users to sign in or create an account.
1. Create An Account
Click the Create An Account button in the new user section. This brings you to the Terms of Service agreement. It explains what you will need to verify your information, which we provided earlier. Once you are done reading through the agreement check the box saying I agree to the Terms of Service and click Next.
2. Verify Your Identity
You will verify your identity by filling out all the information requested: your name, Social Security number, date of birth, home address, and primary phone number.
Once you are done, there is an option to Add Extra Security at the bottom of the page. When active, it will send a text message, with a one time code, to your cell phone any time you sign in to your account. You will need to use this code, with your username and password, when you sign in. This extra security can be turned on or off at any time. When you are done click Next.
3. Secure Your Identity
You will secure your identity by answering several questions about yourself. The Social Security Administration does this to protect your information online. It uses Experian as an authentication provider, like when you sign up for a credit card. The questions are designed so that only you know the answer.
I have to say, the questions aren’t easy. I was asked one question about an event over ten years ago. I have a hard enough time remembering last year, let alone ten years ago. If you answer incorrectly, you will be locked out for 24 hours.
If you don’t want to answer the questions, you can verify your identity at your local Social Security office. Once you’re done with the questions, click Next.
4. Finalize Your Account
Once your identity is verified, you can finally create your account. You will be able to select a username and password. Be aware that the username can’t include your name or social security number and the password must contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one symbol.
As an added bonus, you will have to change your password every 180 days. It’s annoying, but a good idea just for identity theft prevention. Set your reset questions, which will be used if you ever forget your password. Once you are done, your account will be created.
Now you can check your Social Security statement anytime. You will also have access to all the other Social Security Administration services online, too.
If you are 60 or older, your Social Security statement will be mailed to you. Not quite 60 yet and don’t want to use the internet? You can have a statement mailed to you by filling out and mailing in a statement request form or you can contact your local Social Security office.