“It’s almost impossible, if you’re 65, to correct something that happened 30 years ago,” Mr. Certner said.
The outlook for the legislation is uncertain. A similar measure that was introduced last year failed to advance, and Congress is currently preoccupied with major legislation like President Biden’s infrastructure spending bill.
Here are some questions and answers about Social Security statements:
Why should I check my statement?
A discrepancy in your earnings not only can affect your future benefits, but it can also raise a flag about possible identity theft. If earnings are much higher than your records show, it could indicate that someone has been working illegally using your Social Security number.
Statements also help you plan for retirement. You can see how much you can expect to receive in monthly benefits, and how much more you would get by waiting until your “full” retirement age, rather than collecting benefits at age 62. For most people born in 1960 or later, their full retirement age is 67. And if you delay taking your benefits until age 70, your monthly payments will be even higher.
How can I check my statement online?
If you are 18 or older, you can create an online mySocialSecurity account. When you log on, you can review your statement online or print it out. You can also request an annual email reminder to log on and review your records.
What if I find an error on my statement?
Earnings may be “missing” for several reasons, according to SocialSecurity.gov. Your employer may have reported your earnings using the wrong Social Security number, or you may have married or divorced and changed your name but forgotten to report it to the agency.
The first thing to do is to collect proof of the missing earnings, such as a W-2 wage statement, a pay stub or a tax return. If you don’t have any documents, you can write down the name of your employer, the dates you worked, how much you earned, and the name and Social Security number you used. Then contact Social Security to correct the error. The process “could take some time” and involve contacting former employers, the agency says.
Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, urged people to at least save their W-2 forms, in case they need them to correct their earnings record. If a former employer goes out of business, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain them later.