In today’s online world, a recent announcement by the Social Security Administration that it would resume mailing paper earnings statements came as somewhat of a surprise.
For those who don’t remember, these documents used to arrive in your mailbox annually, spelling out how much your monthly estimated Social Security benefits would be at retirement or if you become disabled. They also detail amounts due to family members and survivors and list your wages year by year, as well as provide an explanation of how benefits are earned and figured.
This yearly information was a good way to see what you could expect in the future, but in 2011, the SSA stopped mailing the statements as a cost-cutting measure. People who wanted to see how much they would be due in retirement, or if they qualify for disability based on their work history, had to view their statements by creating an online account at the agency web site, www.ssa.gov.
But this spring, the SSA announced that beginning in September, it will once again mail statements every five years in the years a person reaches the ages of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60, provided they are not already registered to receive online statements or if they are not already receiving benefits.
However you choose to receive your statement — whether by waiting for it to arrive in the mail or by creating an online account accessible to you 24/7 — everyone should take time occasionally to review their statement for accuracy. For individuals who have filed for Social Security Disability or who intend to file, it is especially important to make sure the information the SSA has is correct, because a gap in earnings can affect the amount of your potential benefits or even determine whether you are still eligible (people who lack enough past earnings to qualify for disability based on their work history may still be eligible if their financial resources fall below a certain level, however).
If you don’t want to wait your turn to receive a paper statement but lack computer access, your local SSA field office will be able to determine your eligibility and arrange to have a paper copy of your statement sent to you.
If you are eligible for disability and thinking about applying, or if you have applied and been denied due to medical reasons, and if you would like help navigating through the disability process, our office of knowledgeable professionals can assist you. Disability is the only thing we do! This means that we have the time, resources and experience to ensure your claim is processed as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.
So whether you prefer snail mail or cyberspace, your earnings statement is a good starting point on your route to SSA Disability. And if you need help after that, make us your next stop!