Your Social Security Record
Social Security benefits will probably be a major source of your retirement
income. While there may be changes to the Social Security system over
the coming years, all indications are that this program, started in the
1930s, will continue to provide retirement benefits to Americans well
into the 21st century.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has started a program of sending
reports to participants in the program. These reports, called Personal
Earnings & Benefits Estimate Statements, provide details on your taxed
earnings, how much you have contributed over the years and your estimated
retirement benefits. You may have already received your report. The SSA
will mail these reports to all workers on an annual basis. Reports can
also be requested by using a request form available at your local Social
When you receive your
report you should review it carefully. Make sure all the information is
correct, including the spelling of your name, social security number,
birth date and your salary record. Errors, such as a missed year of wages,
could cause your retirement benefits to be lower than they should be.
If there are errors, be sure to contact the Social Security office to
have them corrected. They may require you to provide records supporting
The report will also
give you an idea of your anticipated level of benefits. For many, this
will be an eye-opening experience. The current (2017) average monthly
benefit for a retired worker is about $1,360. For a retired couple, the
average is $2,212 per month. Using this information can be helpful when
reviewing your current retirement planning strategy.
Future of Social
The Social Security system will be undergoing changes in the years ahead.
There are many proposals currently being discussed that would make the
system more financially secure and others that would enable workers to
have some control of how contributions are "invested." The bottom
line is that Social Security benefits will probably be a significant part
of most individuals' retirement income. You can use your Personal Earnings
and Benefits Estimate Statement to help determine how financially secure
your retirement will be.