TMillions of people receive social benefits every month, and almost every American hopes the retirement program will continue to provide benefits after they quit work. Social security is complex, however, and it can be almost impossible to find out for yourself what exactly you will be entitled to when you retire.
To plan your retirement well, all you need to know is what Social Security is likely to do. Fortunately, the federal government makes it easy to see where you stand with social security. Checking your social security card is the first thing everyone should do to support their retirement savings in 2022 because it gives you vital information to develop a realistic strategy for meeting your financial goals.
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What your social security card tells you
Your social security statement is key to understanding what to expect from the program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) should keep track of your entire income history throughout your career, and based on these numbers and some basic assumptions about your future, can calculate the expected numbers for what you will get from Social Security.
More specifically, the Social Security Statement includes estimates for several different benefits. It tells you what your pension will be if you retire at full retirement age. It also offers your lower monthly benefit if you claim at age 62, as well as the higher benefit you get if you wait until age 70.
Social security offers other types of benefits as well, and the explanation goes into each of these in detail. If you become disabled during your working life and are entitled to disability benefits, you will see the monthly payments on your statement.
Also, social security isn’t just about you as an employee. Your family may also be entitled to benefits and the statement explains what your surviving dependents could get after your death based on your professional history.
Understand the limits of your social security card
As useful as the Social Security Statement is, it is not perfect. It is generally assumed that you will continue to work at roughly the same income level for the rest of your working life. So if you anticipate changes – be it moving to a higher-paying job, early retirement, or partial retirement with reduced wages – you can’t take the payroll estimates at face value.
In addition, you should ensure that the SSA has accurate information about your previous work history. Sometimes employers don’t report the correct information and that can miss you in your hard-earned accomplishments.
How to get your social security card
The SSA used to send a copy of your social security ID in the mail every year. Although this practice has changed, the easiest way to get access is through the SSA website. You can log in to the mySocialSecurity page and view your current account statement at any time.
If you have never seen your Social Security ID or if you haven’t seen it in a while, reviewing your latest information should be a priority for 2022. Given the key role social security plays in almost every financial life, there is no excuse to take just a few minutes and see what you can get from the federal retirement program in due course.
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