By Brian Patrick Bronson, Esq.
If you have a work history and have paid taxes on your income, the Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps track of your earnings. Every year you will receive a statement from SSA that provides several types of information to you.
First, the statement will provide an estimate of the various types of benefits to be paid by SSA. Included will be estimates of benefits for early (age 62) and full (age 65 or older, depending upon your date of birth) retirement. (Note: if you want to determine your full retirement age, check the SSA website at www.ssa.gov.)
The statement will also provide an estimate of the benefit you would receive if you become eligible for Social Security Disability.
Finally, the statement lists your earnings as recorded by SSA. It is always a good idea to check these figures, as SSA may not have recorded the correct information. If these amounts are incorrect, you should immediately contact SSA and have them corrected. You must have proper documentation, such as W-2 statements or pay stubs, to verify your income. SSA will not correct your statement based simply upon your word; you must have proof.
While the above-mentioned benefit amounts are only estimates, they will give you a good idea of your potential benefits. Your exact benefit amount will be calculated once you actually qualify for and begin to receive that particular benefit.