The year is coming to a close, and that means New Year’s resolutions for 2020 are going to start hitting your Facebook feed. Maybe one to consider for yourself is to be proactive about your Social Security benefits.
Social Security was designed to replace around 40% of a retiree’s income, but many seniors are having to rely on it more. That means it’s important to know what to expect in your monthly benefits check, and make sure you are getting everything you are supposed to.
Here are two quick things you can do going into 2020 that will help you get the most out of Social Security and your retirement.
1. Go Online and Create a ‘My Social Security’ Account
Creating a MySocialSecurity account gives you access to a lot of important information pertaining to your benefits. It also has many features that you may not have been aware of, and that can mean saving time by not having to sit on the phone waiting to speak to a Social Security Administration representative.
Here are just some of the features unlocked by creating a MySocialSecurity account, per The Motley Fool:
- Request a replacement Social Security card
- Change your address and/or phone number
- Review your Social Security statement (these were previously mailed out every five years between the ages of 25 and 60)
- Check your earnings history
- Apply for Social Security retirement or spousal benefits
- Apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income
- Request a benefit verification letter if you’re trying to verify income for a lender
- Set up direct deposit for your Social Security benefit check
- Print your SSA-1099 for your federal or state income taxes
- Get a replacement Medicare card
And this information isn’t only useful for retirees already receiving Social Security. It can also be great for anyone’s retirement planning efforts.
According the SSA, only two out of five people that have MySocialSecurity accounts used the site to access their online statements in 2018, and while you probably don’t need to be constantly keeping tabs on your Social Security information, it is a handy tool to take advantage of.
2. Triple-Check Your Social Security Earnings History
Speaking of retirement planning, it can pay dividends to spend a little time looking over your Social Security earnings history. This can even be done online after you followed the first step above.
The SSA uses your 35 highest-earning years to calculate how much your monthly benefits check will be, so maybe breaking out the calculator and spending a few minutes to double-check the math is a worthy effort. Overall, the SSA is pretty efficient, but mistakes can be made. It’s also worth comparing your earnings history matches the numbers on your federal tax return.
These are just a couple quick things that can help ensure you get 2020 off on the right foot. Retirement should be an opportunity to relax, and taking a little time now can mean a lot of peace of mind later.
• You can find all of the latest and most important news about Social Security here on Money and Markets.
For our friends: Anyone who wants to grow and protect their money in retirement needs to hear this. For the first time publicly, Bill O’Reilly comes clean about what happened to his money.