For people of all ages, we recommend creating a “my Social Security” account today so that someone else doesn’t create an account for you.
Another good reason to create a “my Social Security” account is to monitor your earnings record, otherwise known as a record of all the earnings you have received during your work history. No matter what your age, it’s important to make sure every year of your earnings history is reported correctly. This record determines your eligibility and the amount of benefits you may receive if you were to become disabled or upon obtaining the eligibility age (currently age 62) to file for retirement benefits.
The younger you are, the easier it is to keep track of the accuracy of your earnings history as fewer years have been recorded. You can do this by comparing the “Social security wages” in box 3 and the “Medicare wages and tips” in box 5 of your Form W-2 with “Your Taxed Social Security Earnings” and “Your Taxed Medicare Earnings” amounts on your earnings record. If you do find errors on your statement, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. By checking your earnings history each year, you may save yourself from having to correct errors made today later down the road.
If you’re one of our clients, we may request a copy of your latest Social Security statement. As part of our Social Security Planning services, we analyze your Social Security statement (and your spouse’s) to help you determine the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security in order to maximize benefits. In addition, this analysis helps us to more accurately predict your future income which is taken into consideration as part of our Tax Planning Services.
You can access your Social Security records anytime online by creating a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
First, select the blue “Create an Account” button.
Then, select “Create New Account.”
The next page provides the Social Security Administration’s terms of service. Once you’ve read this page, select “I agree to the Terms of Service” and the blue “Next” button at the bottom.
You will then be prompted to fill out your personal information on the “Please tell us who you are” page shown below. After you have done this, select the “Next” button at the bottom of this page.
The following page will prompt you to verify your identity by answering the questions provided. When you have answered all of the questions, select the “Next” button at the bottom of the page.
After you have verified your identity, you are ready to create a username, password, and three password reset questions for your account. We recommend creating a very secure password that would be hard for someone else to guess. If you have difficulty managing unique passwords, we recommend using a password vault such as KeePass. Then, select the “Next” button.
Next, you will be asked to choose how you want to receive the one-time security code that will be sent each time you sign in. Your options include email or text message. Select “Next” after you have made this selection.
You will then receive a security code by the method you selected in the previous step. Enter this security code to receive a message saying, “Congratulations! You have successfully set up your my Social Security account.”
By selecting “Next” at the bottom of this page, you will be taken to a new page asking you to enter your Username, Password, and security code to sign in to your account.
After you have signed in to your account, you may be prompted to agree to the Terms of Service again. Once you have done this, your retirement benefit estimate should appear.
To download your full statement including a record of your earnings, the Social Security taxes you have paid, and an estimate of your future benefits, select “Print / Save Your Full Statement” as shown below.
You can learn more about this process and the available features of a “my Social Security” account in a video on the Social Security website here. There is also helpful information about “my Social Security” accounts on the Social Security Administration’s Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash