How to Check on Social Security Retirement Benefits

by Jerry Anderson ; Updated July 27, 2017
Social Security benefits help you to retire with confidence.

Individuals and families might face economic uncertainties resulting from facets of life, such as old age and death. To address these concerns, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. The original bill provided benefits, such as retirement income for primary workers who retired at age 65 or older. Throughout the years, the U.S. Congress has passed amendments that established additional benefits, such as disability payments. According to the Social Security Administration, one in seven Americans receives a benefit. In anticipation of retirement, an individual might need to explore Social Security benefits. The federal government provides an array of online information to address questions concerning Social Security.

Step 1

Visit the Social Security Administration website to find the phone number of your local office to schedule an appointment for discussing your entitlement. You may want to discuss, for example, the pros and cons of applying for benefits at various ages (see Resources).

Step 2

Access the Social Security Administration website to find answers to your retirement questions. You can learn, for example, the retirement age that provides the maximum benefit. In addition, you can learn how to apply for benefits.

Step 3

Request a retirement benefit statement from the Social Security Administration to learn your entitlement amount based on current circumstances if you are not already receiving benefits. Request this online or call 800-772-1213. Email and paper versions are available that provide a record of your earnings and a summary of benefits that you and your family are entitled to receive. However, automatic statements are mailed annually to workers or former workers of age 25 or older.

Step 4

Go to the Social Security Administration website to access the benefits calculator. This estimate is based on your current income record. However, your future income might affect your actual benefit amount at the time you apply for benefits.

Step 5

Request a retirement benefit statement online from the Social Security Administration to receive a record of your earnings if you are already receiving benefits. You should receive the statement in four to six weeks. This will indicate your year-by-year earnings, but will not provide benefit estimates since you are already receiving benefits. Your last year’s earnings may not appear on the statement.

About the Author

In 1981, Jerry Anderson began writing accounting application manuals for a San Francisco corporation. He wrote computer-related manuals and procedures for data backup and disaster recovery. Anderson’s writing also includes business-related documents, such as business plans. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from California State University, Chico.

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