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Using Social Security online

By Lizna Odhwani

Did you know you can see your work history online all the way back to your first job? Your earnings history is a record of your progress toward your Social Security benefits. We keep track of your earnings so we can pay you the benefits you’ve earned over your lifetime. This is why reviewing your Social Security earnings record is so important.

If an employer didn’t properly report just one year of your earnings to us, your future benefit payments could be less than they should be. Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled. It’s important to identify reporting problems as soon as possible. As time passes, you may no longer have easy access to past tax documents, and some employers may no longer exist or be able to provide past payroll information.

While it’s your employer’s responsibility to provide accurate earnings information to us, you should still review and inform us of any errors or omissions so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct.

The easiest way to verify your earnings record is to visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount and set up or sign in to your personal my Social Security account. You should review each year of listed earnings carefully and confirm them using your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns. Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet.

You can find detailed instructions on how to correct your Social Security earnings record at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf.

There are many online sources for Social Security information, but you need to make sure you’re getting the right information. By using www.ssa.gov, you know that what you’re reading and watching is approved by our experts and specifically created for you. Here are three of our resources where you can find valuable information about your Social Security benefits.

  • Our blog — Stay informed about our latest news, retirement planning tips and other helpful information. Our blog at blog.ssa.gov features messages direct from our commissioner, as well as information from expert contributors. From there, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube, where you can watch our popular videos.
  • my Social Security — You’re in control with many services available online through my Social Security. Creating a secure account will help you conduct Social Security business from home.

With your personal my Social Security account, you can:

  • Estimate your future benefits with our Retirement Calculator to compare different dates or ages to begin receiving benefits.
  • Check the status of your Social Security application.
  • Review your work history.

If you already receive benefits, you can also:

  • Get a benefit verification or proof of income letter.
  • Set up or change your direct deposit.
  • Change your address.
  • Request a replacement Medicare card.
  • Get a Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099).

You may also be able to quickly request a replacement card online with a my Social Security account, if you meet certain qualifications listed at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Frequently Asked Questions — Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits? How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits? What is your full retirement age? Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.ssa.gov/faq.

With so many services available online, we are here for you when your schedule allows. Be sure to tell friends and family about all the business they can do with us from the comfort of their home at www.ssa.gov.

By Lizna Odhwani is a Social Security public affairs specialist. Contact her at Lizna.Odhwani@ssa.gov.