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Understanding your benefits with My Social Security

by Kirk Larson

This new Social Security tool is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits.

For many years, the Social Security Administration sent a Benefit Statement in the mail to all individuals working and paying into Social Security.

Social Security will no longer provide those annual mailers.

A person already receiving Social Security benefits can use a My Social Security account to access benefit verification letters, payment history and earnings record instantly online.

Social Security beneficiaries also can change their address, phone number and direct deposit information online. In the future additional services will be available.

People who have not started benefits can use a My Social Security account to get a personalized online Social Security Benefit Statement.

The online Statement provides eligible workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement.

People can see year by year how much money they made. In addition, the portal includes links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability and Medicare.

People age 18 and older can sign up for an account and, after completing the secure verification process, create a My Social Security account with a unique user name and password to access their information.

To set up your account go to socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/.

-Kirk Larson is a Social Security Washington

public affairs specialist.

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