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Business // Thinking Smart
David S. Chang

5 Essential Facts On S.S. Statements

The Social Security Administration back in April 2011 suspended mailing Social Security statements to save money. Luckily, they added the ability to view your statements online in May 2012. They recently announced that they would resume mailing statements to some workers beginning September 2014.

The paper statements will be mailed to workers who are not currently receiving benefits, not registered for online statements and are ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60. For more information on maximizing Social Security benefits and to Learn the 4-Step System to Wealth and Financial Independence, visit artofthinkingsmart.com/sswebinar to claim your spot!

Here are five important items on your statement that you should verify for accuracy.

* Your Earnings Record: Your statement will list how much money you made for each year that you worked. Sometimes all your income does not get reported to Social Security, which can reduce your benefits when you start collecting. Your benefits are based on the top 35 in which you made the most.

* Your Benefit Amount: Most statements will show an estimate of how much you will receive if you opt to take benefits at 62, 70 and your full retirement age. You should look at the projections to see when may be the best time to take your benefits.

* Your Benefits If You Become Disabled: If you become disabled this year, the statement will tell you how much you are eligible for. Social Security isn’t just for retirees.

* Your Benefits If You Pass Away: Your family will get your benefits if you are the breadwinner. This includes your dependent children and your spouse caring for them. Your spouse may get your benefits based on your earning record or get a one-time death benefit.

* Your Social Security And Medicare Contributions: Your statement will show how much money you paid into the system throughout your career. You want to make sure you get credit for all of your contributions. Employees have to contribute 6.2 percent of their earnings up to $117,000 and 1.45 percent of their earnings into Medicare. Employers will match this same amount for a total of 12.4 percent into Social Security and 2.9 percent into Medicare. If you are self-employed, you are responsible for the full amount. Anyone who earns more than $200,000, or $250,000 for couples, will have to pay an additional 0.9 percent into Medicare.

If you haven’t done so already, you can view your Social Security Statement online at ssa.gov by creating an account. I recommend you do this like any other financial account and check regularly. For more answers, join us for the free Social Security and Retirement Income Strategy webinar on July 30 at 5:30 p.m. I will have a question-and-answer session afterwards. All you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone, and Internet access, and you can join in! To sign up, please visit artofthinkingsmart.com/sswebinar.

david@artofthinkingsmart.com

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