Taking stock during Financial Literacy Month

By Becky Whitlow
Social Security District Manager in Springfield, IL

April is Financial Literacy Month, which is a perfect time to take stock (pun intended) of your retirement savings. Social Security is there to help secure your future, but savings should be the foundation of a bigger retirement plan.

Have you ever done business online? The convenience and safety of doing business online is another way we’re meeting the changing needs and lifestyles of our customers. You can open your own personal my Social Security account within a matter of minutes and have access to your information at any time of day, from the comfort of your home or office.

With a my Social Security account, you can:
• Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year, which is important because we use your earnings, along with other information, to help determine your benefit amount and eligibility;
• Get an estimate of your future benefits, if you are still working;
• Get a letter with proof of your benefits, if you currently receive them; and
• Manage your benefits:
o Change your address;
o Start or change your direct deposit;
o Get a replacement Medicare card; and
o Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.
If you live in the District of Columbia, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, or Wisconsin, you may be able to replace your Social Security card online using my Social Security. It’s an easy, convenient, and secure way to request a replacement card online.

To take advantage of this new service option, you must:
• Have or create a my Social Security account;
• Have a valid driver’s license in a participating state or the District of Columbia (or a state-issued identification card in some states);
• Be age 18 or older and a United States citizen with a domestic U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses); and
• Not be requesting a name change or any other changes to your card.

We plan to add more states, so we encourage you to check www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber throughout the year.

In April, Social Security celebrates National my Social Security Week. The biggest day in that week is “Check Your Statement Day.” It’s important that you check your Social Security Statement every year since we base your future benefits on your earnings record. Your Statement can help you plan for your financial future. We encourage you to go online to my Social Security to access your Statement whenever you wish to verify your earnings history or check your estimated future benefits.

One sure way to stay on top of your financial future: you can join the more than 23 million people who have opened their own my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.