SOCIAL SECURITY

With a new year looming on the horizon, you should resolve to get and keep your financial affairs organized to be sure you receive the most from your Social Security coverage. This means monitoring the accuracy of your Social Security earnings based and being aware of how much other retirement income you will need using your Social Security benefits as a start. Your eligibility for future benefits depends on your having sufficient credit for work covered by Social Security. And the amount of your benefit is based on your average annual earnings over your working life. You need to make sure that you receive credit for all work you performed whether as a wage earner or self-employed individual. Some things you need to do: ‘ Make sure you check your W-2 and 1099 forms to verify that your name, Social Security number and earnings information are correct. Notify your employer of any errors or omissions and ask for corrected forms to be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. ‘Compare your wage and self-employment earning records with your most recent Social Security Statement to be sure that the amounts agree. ‘ Report an discrepancies you find to your local Social Security’s office. Generally, you need to provide copies of your W-2s or self-employment tax returns for most changes, but we can help you even if you don’t have all these records. We will also notify you when your records have been corrected. ‘ Verify that the corrections have been made to your earnings record. You can either request a new Social Security Statement, or you can wait until your next annual Statement arrives about three months before your birthday. ‘ Consider the estimated future benefits shown on your Statement in your overall financial planning. Remember that your Social Security benefit is intended to provide one part of your overall retirement income with private pensions, personal savings and investments making up the balance. It’s important to keep track of your finances to maximize your retirement benefits. For more information about your Social Security Statement and how to correct errors, you can access Social Security Online at www.ssa.gov/mystatement. You can also contact Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

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