Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay
Courtesy: Social Security Administration

Say “annual checkup” and most people imagine waiting at their doctor’s office. But there’s another type of checkup that can give you a sense of wellness without having to leave home. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov and follow these five steps to conduct your own Social Security annual checkup.

Your Social Security Statement is available online anytime to everyone who has a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Creating your account gives you 24/7 access to your personal information and makes it impossible for someone else to set up an account in your name. We still send paper Statements to those who are 60 and older who don’t have an account and aren’t receiving Social Security benefits. Your Statement provides information about work credits (you need 40 credits to be entitled to a Social Security retirement benefit), estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits, plus a history of your earnings.

Work Credits Count

If you have earned 40 work credits, your Statement will show estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits. If you don’t have 40 work credits, the Statement shows how many you have and how many you still need to qualify for benefits.

Review Earnings Record

Review your history of earnings year by year to make sure each year is correct. This is important because Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. If any years are incorrect or missing, you may not receive all the benefits you are entitled to in the future. If you need to correct your earnings, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 between
7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please have your W-2 or paystubs with you when you call.

Study Benefit Estimates

Review the section titled “Your Estimated Benefits.” Be sure to review not only your retirement estimate, but your disability and survivors estimates. No one likes to think about disability, but a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age, underscoring the importance of disability benefits. Since the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security may be more than your individual life insurance, be sure to also check your survivors estimates.

Calculate Additional Estimates

You can use our Retirement Estimator to compute future Social Security benefits by changing variables such as retirement dates and future earnings. If you want to project what future earnings could add to your benefit, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Schedule Your Annual Check-Up

Each year, make a date with yourself to review the most recently posted year of earnings on your Statement. By checking your record every year, you can be certain that Social Security will have a correct record of earnings to use when computing benefits for you or your family members when you retire.

Social Security helps you secure your today and tomorrow by providing information to make your financial planning easier. Social Security is more than retirement — it is a family protection plan. For more information about benefits, visit us at www.socialsecurity.gov.

To find all of the services available and set up an account, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Jane Yamamoto Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.


Question: I’m expecting a baby this September. What must I do to get a Social Security number for my baby?

Answer: Apply for a number at the hospital when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us, and we will mail the Social Security card to you. You can learn more about the Social Security number and card by reading our online publication on the subject, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Question: Why should I sign up for a my Social Security online account?

Answer: my Social Security gives you a personal online account that you can securely use to check your Social Security information and do business with us. With a my Social Security account, you can:

• Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year;

• Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working;

• Get a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain criteria and reside in these locations;

• Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them; and

• Manage your benefits:

• Change your address or telephone number;

• Start or change your direct deposit;

• Get a replacement Medicare card; and

• Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.

To find all of the services available and set up an account, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.


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