Apr 01, 2019
By Tory Meiborg, President and Partner at World Trend Financial
While the long-term viability of Social Security benefits continues to be a political hot-button issue, the process of accessing one’s future (or current) Social Security benefit is relatively easy.
All potential Social Security benefits are available by establishing online access at www.ssa.gov. Establishing the account should only be done by going directly to this website. DO NOT establish an account by clicking a link in an e-mail. While the Social Security Administration does send e-mails to beneficiaries, doing so exposes one to increasingly complex “phishing” schemes.
Once at www.ssa.gov, click the “SIGN IN/UP” link and follow the prompts to establish an account. Online access provides an abundance of information, including:
- Estimated future benefits at age 62, full-retirement age and at age 70
- Estimated survivor and disability benefits
- A summary of an individual’s annual earnings
- The ability to download a paper copy of the benefit statement
- Current benefit information for those collecting benefits
- The ability to apply for benefits online
- A link to request a replacement Social Security card
Much of this information is especially useful during the retirement planning process. Special diligence should be applied to reviewing your earnings history. While it is the responsibility of the employer to submit the appropriate Social Security taxes withheld, it is the individual’s responsibility to assure the earnings history is correct. Inaccurate information could result in reduced benefits.
One additional issue to consider. The Social Security Administration will mail out estimated benefit statements only to those age 60 or above. These statements arrive 3 months before the beneficiary’s birthday. If an individual signs up for online access, they will no longer receive paper copies of their benefit statement via traditional mail.
For further information, or to begin your retirement planning process, reach out to any of the investment advisor representatives at World Trend Financial. They can be reached at 319-364-3041 in Cedar Rapids or 319-339-4884 in Iowa City.