By Tony Stutts
Social Security District Manager in Petersburg
It’s never too early to start planning for retirement and Social Security’s online tools can help. Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount to access one’s personal my Social Security account to get an estimate of one’s retirement benefits based on one’s earnings record. Once a person has an account, one can use the Plan for Retirement tool to see how benefits can change at different ages. Don’t have a personal my Social Security account? A person can create one at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
A person can also use one’s personal my Social Security account to see one’s entire work history and make sure all of a person’s wages were recorded correctly. A person’s benefit amount is based on the earnings reported to Social Security. If there are errors in a person’s work history, read this guide www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf to learn how to correct the Social Security record.
When a person is ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, one can complete the online application in as little as 15 minutes at www.ssa.gov/retirement. Social Security will contact one if any further information is needed. The status of a person’s application can be checked through one’s online account.
A person can apply online for Social Security retirement benefits, or benefits as a spouse, if one:
- Is at least 61 years and nine months old.
- Is not currently receiving benefits on one’s own Social Security record.
- Have not already applied for retirement benefits.
- Want one’s benefits to start no later than four months in the future. (Social Security cannot process an application if a person applies for benefits more than four months in advance)
Find out more about retirement benefits at www.ssa.gov/retirement.