With fraud and scams getting more and more sophisticated, it can seem overwhelming to know where to start and how to protect yourself and your data. And, for many of us, Social Security plays an important part in our financial plans for retirement or later stage of life. Even if you’re years away from applying for benefits, protecting yourself from fraud is just another good reason to set up your online Social Security account now at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
What does your plan look like?
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So, why should I create my online Social Security access?
Ensure Accurate Reporting
You can go online to ensure there aren’t any gaps in your earnings. The amount you receive from Social Security is based on how much you’ve earned over your working career. Many people change jobs frequently, increasing the possibility an employer will fail to report their earnings, use the wrong Social Security number, or use an incorrect name. If there is a mistake, you’ll want to fix it as soon as possible, so you aren’t shortchanged when you apply for benefits.
Protect Against Fraud
By setting up an online Social Security account, you’ll prevent anyone else from doing so. Much like income tax fraud, identity thieves sometimes set up Social Security accounts and file for benefits using other people’s names. You don’t want to wait until you retire to find someone else is collecting your hard-earned benefits. The most effective way to prevent that is by creating your own account.
Access to Documents
You can easily replace a lost or stolen Social Security card – for free. With an online account, there’s no need to sit through traffic to get to your local office and wait in line for a new card. You can also download a printable copy of your Social Security 1099/Benefit Statement, the tax form the Social Security Administration mails each year in January. No need to wait.
If you already receive Social Security, you can still benefit from having an online account. You can set up or change direct deposit or address information and get a benefit verification letter, which you may need if you’re applying for a loan. You’ll also be able to check the status of your Social Security benefit application from anywhere you can safely log in to your account.
If you’re wondering about the role of Social Security benefits in your retirement plans, call our office. We can help you evaluate your financial plan and the impact social security will have to ensure you’re on track to work toward the retirement you envision.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions about your retirement plans and how a Certified Financial Planner can make the difference!
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