The Social Security Administration announced on May 1, 2012 that Social Security Statements will now be available online. Social Security Statements were previously mailed to all workers above the age of 25 on a yearly basis. The Statements had been mailed out between October 1999 and April 2011 when the process was stopped because of Social Security budget cuts.
The Online Social Security Statement includes all the information that was originally included in the mailed statement, and provides an option to print out a statement in the format that was previously used. Estimates are given of your retirement amount, disability amount, and survivors benefits. Most importantly, you also have the ability to review your yearly earnings record to confirm that your earnings have been correctly credited to your Social Security Record.
Although I am happy to see the online statements, the process for registering and viewing the statements is not as easy as I would hope. When registering to view your statement, you must create a username and password that you will use to access your information in the future. You must have a valid email address, a social security number, a US mailing address, and be at least 18 years of age.
Once you provide your basic identifying information, Social Security uses Experian (a credit reporting agency) to verify your identity. You are given multiple choice questions about accounts that you have opened in the past, vehicles that you have owned, and/or property you own to verify that you are who you claim to be. Once you verify your identity (which Social Security notes that not all individuals will be able to do), you will then be required to create a “My Social Security” account to actually view your statement. If you are unable to verify your identity, you will have an option to visit your Social Security office to create an account, or to have a paper statement mailed to you.
The hardest part of the process for me was selecting a username and password. Your username cannot include your name in it, and the password must include at least one upper case character, one lower case character, one number, and one symbol. I expect that since the username and passwords are required to be so secure, there will be many people that need assistance in retrieving their password. You will also be required to change your password every 180 days.
Overall I am very happy that Social Security has made statements available for workers again. As a Social Security Disability attorney, this information is very important to me when determining if I can assist individuals with a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. It provides me with information that helps determine the program you qualify for, and how changes in your onset date can impact your eligibility and payment amounts. For the individual, this statement is important to confirm that your employers have properly reported your earnings.
Further information is available from the Press Release issued by the Social Security Administration. To create your “My Social Security” account, and view your Social Security Statement, visit the Social Security Online Statement Portal (http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement). There is also a video that explains the registration process for creating a “My Social Security” account (http://ssa.gov/multimedia/video/mysocialsecurity/).
Steven Butler is a private attorney that limits his practice to Social Security Disability Claims. He offers free initial consultations for individuals that are considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, for individuals that are currently in the Social Security Disability Application process, or for individuals that have recently been denied Social Security Disability benefits. For a free Social Security Disability consultation, please contact Steven Butler at 302-613-0707.