May 1, 2018

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY | Rock Island, Illinois Office

By Cristina Vital
Social Security Manager
Rock Island Social Security Office

CHECKLIST FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY ANNUAL CHECK-UP

Say “annual checkup” and most people imagine waiting at the doctor’s office. But, there’s another type of checkup that can give you a sense of wellness without even leaving home. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov and follow these five steps to conduct your own Social Security annual checkup.

Your Social Security Statement is available online anytime to everyone who has a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Creating your account gives you 24/7 access to your personal information and makes it impossible for someone else to set up an account in your name. We still send paper Statements to those who are 60 and older who don’t have an account and aren’t receiving Social Security benefits. Your Statement provides information about work credits (you need 40 credits to be entitled to a Social Security retirement benefit), estimates for
retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, plus a history of your earnings.

Work Credits Count

If you have earned 40 work credits, your Statement will show estimates for retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. If you don’t have 40 work credits, the Statement shows how many you have and how many you still need to qualify for benefits.

Review Earnings Record

Review your history of earnings year by year to make sure each year is correct. This is important because Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. If any years are incorrect or missing, you may not receive all the benefits you are entitled to in the future. If you need to correct your earnings, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please have your W-2 or paystubs when you call.

Study Benefit Estimates

Review the section titled “Your Estimated Benefits.” Be sure to review not only your retirement estimate, but your disability and survivors estimates. No one likes to think about disability, but a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age, underscoring the importance of disability benefits. Since the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security may be more than your individual life insurance, be sure to check your survivors estimates also.

Calculate Additional Estimates

You can use our Retirement Estimator to compute future Social Security benefits by changing variables such as retirement dates and future earnings. If you want to project
what future earnings could add to your benefit, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Schedule Your Annual Check-Up

Each year, make a date with yourself to review the most recently posted year of earnings on your Statement. By checking your record every year, you can be certain when you retire that Social Security will have a correct record of earnings to use when computing benefits for you or your family members.

Social Security helps you secure your today and tomorrow by providing information to make your financial planning easier. Social Security is more than retirement; it is a family protection plan. For more information about benefits, visit us at www.socialsecurity.gov.

SOCIAL SECURITY HONORS THE NATION’S HEROES ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial Day, we honor service members who have given their lives for our nation. Social Security acknowledges the heroism and courage of our military service members, and we remember those who have given their lives to protect our country. Part of how we honor these heroes is the way we provide Social Security benefits.

The loss of a family member is difficult for anyone. Social Security helps by providing benefits to protect service members’ dependents. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.

It’s also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have been wounded. Just as they served us, we have the obligation to serve them. Social Security has benefits to protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work.

Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T). The VA and Social Security each have disability programs. You may find that you qualify for disability benefits through one program but not the other, or that you qualify for both. Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit generally does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement. You may also want to visit the Military Service
page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html.

Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the VA or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change, or end, when you become eligible for Medicare. Learn more about Medicare benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare.

In acknowledgment of those who died for our country, those who served, and those who serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you.

Filed Under: Finance, News, Retirement