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Retirement Starts Today Radio

Benjamin Brandt wants to teach you how to retire! Listen in as Benjamin Brandt CFP©, RICP© answers the questions on the minds of the modern retiree, often joined by the top experts in the retirement planning industry. Ask Benjamin a question here: https://retirementstartstodayradio.com/ask-a-question/
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Apr 19, 2021

Are you signed up for the My Social Security account from the Social Security Administration? In this episode, we’ll review a Kitces.com article written by Jeffrey Levine about this important resource. We’ll review the history of My Social Security, how to sign up for it, how its benefit calculations account for inflation, and how Americans can interpret its information in order to understand their social security benefits. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to review a very important topic. Press play to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:28] How to access your My Social Security account
  • [5:22] What can you do with your My Social Security account?
  • [10:04] A question about my podcast host
  • [11:28] Rusty needs to create about $50,000 of income each year - how should he do it?

Background information on My Social Security

From 1990 to 2011, the Social Security Administration mailed paper copies of Social Security statements to most American workers. These statements summarized their personalized retirement and disability benefits. However, budget cuts in 2011 paused these mailings, and now workers under age 60 no longer receive mailed statements at all. The only workers to receive Social Security statements by mail are those who were both 60 or older in 2017 and had not yet registered for an online SSA account. 

How to access your My Social Security account

The primary way Americans can access their annual Social Security statements is online via their My Social Security account. To set up a My Social Security account users will be required to provide some basic information on an online form. This information includes first and last name as shown on their Social Security card, Social Security number, date of birth, home address, and email address. 

After filling out the form, individuals will be required to complete an identity verification process. They can either verify their identity using their smartphone to photo-capture their state-issued ID card, or they can type in their information into the online form. The second method of verification uses financial information such as credit card information, Social Security benefit amount information, a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, or a Schedule SE from their most recent Form 1040.

What can you do with your My Social Security account?

Once you have set up your My Social Security account and can see your Social Security statements you should do a few things. 

  1. Verify your reported work history.
  2. Review the current estimates of your anticipated Social Security benefits.
  3. Explore how the benefits align with your retirement income needs.

In the Social Security statements, there are three pages of important information, but most people are concerned with the information on pages two and three. Page two has a summary of your estimated retirement, disability, family survivors, and Medicare benefits. Page three of the statement lists earnings on file for each year from the time an individual began working. Listen in to hear why you should carefully check the income information from the past years. 

Get your My Social Security account set up to begin your retirement planning

Have you set up your My Social Security account yet? This is a great first step to get you on your way to creating your retirement plan. Make sure to listen to the listener questions segment to hear ways to create income in retirement. 

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