“It’s almost impossible, if you’re 65, to correct something that happened 30 years ago,” Mr. Certner said.
The prospects for the legislation are uncertain. A similar measure that was introduced last year has not progressed, and Congress is currently concerned about major legislation like President Biden’s infrastructure spending bill.
Here are some questions and answers about social security claims:
Why should I check my statement?
A discrepancy in your income can not only affect your future benefits, but can also alert you to possible identity theft. If the income is much higher than what your records show, it could be a sign that someone worked illegally using your social security number.
Statements also help you plan for retirement. You can see how much you can expect to receive in monthly benefits and how much more you would get by waiting until “full” retirement age, rather than collecting benefits at 62. For most people born in 1960 or later, the retirement age is 67. And if you delay your benefit payments until age 70, your monthly payments will be even higher.
How can I view my statement online?
If you are 18 or over, you can create a mySocialSecurity account online. When you log in, you can view your statement online or print it. You can also request an annual reminder by email to log in and view your records.
What if I find an error on my statement?
Income may be “missing” for several reasons, according to SocialSecurity.gov. Your employer may have reported your earnings using the wrong Social Security number, or you may have got married or divorced and changed your name but forgot to report it to the agency.
The first thing to do is to collect proof of the missing income, such as a W-2 payslip, pay stub, or tax return. If you don’t have any documents, you can write down the name of your employer, the dates you worked, how much you earned, and the name and social security number you used. Then contact Social Security to correct the error. The process “could take a while” and involve contacting former employers, according to the agency.
Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, urged people to at least register their W-2 forms, in case they need them to correct their income. If a former employer goes bankrupt, it can be difficult if not impossible to get them later.