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A push for Social Security to resume annual mailing updates

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“When you’re 65, it’s almost impossible to correct something that happened 30 years ago,” said Mr. Certner.

The prospects for legislation are uncertain. A similar measure introduced last year failed to make any headway, and Congress is currently working on key legislation, such as President Biden’s infrastructure spending bill.

Here are some questions and answers about Social Security statements:

A discrepancy in your earnings can not only affect your future benefits, but it can also provide a warning about possible identity theft. If the earnings are much higher than your records show, it could indicate that someone has been working illegally with your Social Security number.

Statements also help you plan your retirement. You can see how much you can expect in monthly benefits and how much more you would get by waiting until your “full” retirement age, instead of receiving benefits at age 62. For most people born in 1960 or later, their full retirement age is 67. And if you delay your benefits until age 70, your monthly payments will be even higher.

If you are 18 years or older, you can create an online mySocialSecurity account. When you log in, you can view or print your statement online. You can also request an annual email reminder to log in and view your records.

Income can be “missing” for several reasons, according to: SocialSecurity.gov. Your employer may have reported your earnings with the wrong Social Security number, or you may have been married or divorced and changed your name, but forgot to report it to the agency.

The first thing to do is to collect evidence of the missing income, such as a W-2 payroll statement, pay slip, or tax return. If you don’t have any documents, write down your employer’s name, the dates you worked, how much you earned, and the name and Social Security number you used. Then contact Social Security to rectify the error. The process “may take some time” and involves contacting former employers, the agency says.

Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, urged people to at least keep their W-2 forms, in case they need them to correct their earnings record. If a former employer goes bankrupt, it can be difficult or impossible to get it later.

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