July 5, 2012

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Davenport, Iowa Office

By Karen Cole
Social Security District Manager
Davenport, Iowa


If you would like to get a Social Security Statement, which provides estimates of your future benefits, it is now available online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

“Our new online Social Security Statement is simple, easy-to-use and provides people with estimates they can use to plan for their retirement,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “The online Statement also provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. People should get in the habit of checking their online Statement each year, around their birthday, for example.”

In addition to helping with financial planning, the online Statement also provides workers a convenient way to
determine whether their earnings are accurately posted to their Social Security records. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over a person’s lifetime. If the information is incorrect, the person may not receive proper benefits.

The online Statement provides you the opportunity to save or print the document for future reference, or to have handy for discussions with family members or a financial planner. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, users are giving the online Statement a score of 89, making it competitive with our other top-rated, best-in-government online services, such as the Retirement Estimator and online retirement application.

To get a personalized online Statement, you must be age 18 or older and must be able to provide information about yourself that matches information already on file with Social Security. In addition, Social Security uses Experian, an external authentication service provider, for further verification. You must provide identifying information and answer security questions in order to pass this verification. Social Security will not share your Social Security number with Experian, but the identity check is an important part of this new, thorough verification process.

When your identity is verified, you can create a “My Social Security” account with a unique user name and
password to access your online Statement. In addition, your online Statement includes links to information about other online Social Security services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare.

For more information about the new online Statement, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement.


Do your parents spend much time online? Sometimes older parents can be apprehensive about using the Internet and conducting business online. There is no reason they should be when it comes to Social Security’s online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, which are consistently rated not only the best and easiest to use in government, but in the private sector as well.

What are some of the reasons your parents may want to visit www.socialsecurity.gov? Allow us to show you around so you can give Mom and Dad the proper tour.

Front and center, there is always a series of illustrated panels. This is where we share new messages, initiatives, and items of interest, such as breaking news and tips on new or improved online services.

To the right, you’ll find a big question mark: that is where you can find our most frequently asked questions — and the answers to them. If your parents have a question about Social Security, chances are someone else had the same question. We have collected them on our website, and it is easy to search for questions on a variety of Social Security topics.

Smack dab in the middle of the page is where you can find press releases and the latest news about Social Security.

To the left of the page you will find our top services. Virtually anything you want to do online can be found here: apply online for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits; get an instant, personalized estimate of future benefits with our online Retirement Estimator; and obtain information about how to get or replace a Social Security card.

One of the hottest new services is getting your Social Security Statement online. Just complete the authentication process, much like the sort you would go through when requesting a credit report online, and you’ll be able to set up your online Social Security account. Once you do, you will have online access to your Statement, which includes detailed estimates of future benefits, and a summary of your work history through the years. This is especially helpful for parents who may be planning for retirement.

Our website offers many other services as well, such as online forms and publications, an easy application to apply for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs, icons to our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages, and information categorized by subject matter or by audience.

Take your parents for a visit to www.socialsecurity.gov. It is one small way you can give back to those who have given so much for you.

Question: My husband and I are both entitled to our own Social Security benefits. Will our combined benefits be reduced because we are married?

Answer: No. When each member of a married couple works in employment covered under Social Security and both meet all other eligibility requirements to receive retirement benefits, lifetime earnings are calculated independently to determine the benefit amounts. Therefore, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. If one member of the couple earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits (40) to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. To learn more about retirement, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement.