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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 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 socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Paper statements will still be sent to those who are 60 and older who don’t have an account and aren’t receiving Social Security benefits.

Count your work credits

If you have earned 40 work credits (making you eligible for retirement benefits), 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 your earnings record

Review your history of earnings year by year to make sure it is correct. 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. 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, check survivors’ estimates.

Calculate for the future

You can use the Retirement Estimator to compute future Social Security benefits by changing variables such as retirement dates and future earnings at socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Schedule an 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.


Nicole Tiggemann is a spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration.


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