Social Security Benefit Estimate — May, 2012, reviewed January 2013

A retirement planning tool that was eliminated as a budget cutting move in the past couple years was the annual Social Security Benefit Estimate. Workers received a personal annual paper statement about 3 months before their birthday summarizing current Social Security benefits. Many individuals and financial planners protested since this was a valuable tool in the financial planning process.

Early in 2012 the Social Security Administration resumed paper statements but only to workers over 60 who are not currently receiving benefits. Workers turning age 25, will receive a statement as well. Others can get access to their statements but only online.

The new online Social Security Statement is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement. Once verified, people will create “My Social Security” account with a unique user name and password to access their online statement. In addition, the portal also includes links to other information online services such as, applications for retirement, disability and Medicare.

The Social Security Administration anticipates that the online service may not work smoothly for some due to the need to verify identity with information that matches Social Security records. Those who cannot verify online initially can visit their local Social Security office and present an identity document in order to create an account and gain access to the online version of the statement.

More information on the Social Security Benefit statement can be found at the Social Security Administration website www.ssa.gov/ . Remember, this is one tool to use in planning for your retirement security.