1 thing you need to check before applying for social security | Personal finance

(Adam Levy)

As you get closer to your retirement date, it’s time to start being more precise with your schedule. An important part of any retirement plan is social security. While there may be debate on the optimal time to apply and various complaint strategies to optimize your finances, there is one thing you need to check, regardless of when or how you request.

You need to make sure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has properly accounted for all of your past income.

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Check your earnings record

The Social Security Administration previously sent statements to everyone every year. Now that Americans have increased access to the internet, SSA offers this information only online by default.

To get your earnings record, you’ll need to create an online social security account at ssa.gov/myaccount. All you need is an email address, your social security number and your postal address.

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Once logged in, you will see an option to download your Social Security statement. You can also scroll down and find a link to your full earning record, where you can see more details about your salary, such as who your employer was.

Examine the report to see if all the numbers look correct. A big flag might be a year when the declared Social Security salary was $ 0. But some mistakes may not be as obvious.

It is important to note that the Social Security salary and the actual salary may not exactly match. This may be because some wages are excluded from social security, such as health insurance premiums or health savings account (HSA) contributions. It could also be that you have earned over your Social Security salary limit, which changes every year.

If everything looks fine, thank your lucky stars and go ahead and apply for Social Security when you’re ready. If you find an error, we recommend that you get it corrected as soon as possible.

How to correct a mistake

To correct an error in your earnings record, you will need to gather evidence. This could come in the form of a tax return, W-2, or even an old pay slip. Make sure you subtract any salary that would not be eligible for Social Security when you check your proof against what the Social Security administration reports.

Once you have found evidence of an error in your revenue report, you should submit a correction request via the ssa.gov website or contact SSA and make an appointment at your local office. Most corrections can be done online, but you will need to contact the SSA if you are disputing the self-employment salary and in some other cases.

After submitting all your documents to SSA, you just have to wait for your case to be processed and for them to update your earnings record. It could take months.

There is technically a time limit

It is important to note that there is technically a limit to how far back you can go to make a correction in your earnings record. According to the SSA, “An earnings record can be corrected at any time up to three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which wages were paid or self-employment income was earned.”

But there are some notable exceptions to this rule. You can go back more than three years for many reasons detailed on the ssa.gov website. The main reason you might Not being able to go back over three years is if you are self-employed and have not submitted your taxes by the deadline.

It is a good idea to check the revenue report regularly. Not only will you definitely be within the time limit, but you will also be more likely to have your tax return or W-2 files readily available. But even if you’re approaching retirement, it’s not too late to make sure everything is okay before applying.

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