The warnings over relying on Social Security to fund your retirement come at you from every medium. However, out of curiosity, you just might want to know how much your benefits are projected to be when you retire. If you work as an employee or if you pay self-employment taxes, the Social Security Administration mails you a one-time printed statement three months before you turn 25. From that date until you reach age 60, the only way to check on your account is online at the Social Security Administration's website.
Visit the Social Security Administration website home page at www.ssa.gov. Click on "Get Your Social Security Statement Online" at the left of the page.
Select "Sign In or Create an Account" at the top right of the page or toward the bottom left of the page.
Click on "Create an Account." At the next page, click the box before "I agree to the Terms of Service."
Fill in the online application. You will need your name, email address, home address, phone number and Social Security number. Click "Next" at the bottom of the screen.
Follow the directions on the succeeding screens. The Social Security Administration needs to be sure it has identified you correctly, so it prompts you with a series of questions that help confirm you are the holder of the Social Security number you entered. The administration checks the data you enter against the records of Experian, a credit-reporting agency that provides external authentication.
Create your account. You'll need to choose a login and password. Then, log in to your account to see your Social Security statement.
Survey your benefits estimates. You will see estimates of the benefits you would receive if you ceased to work at age 62, age 65 and age 70. There is also an estimate of what you would get if you stopped working right away because of disability. There's also information on survivors' benefits. You can use these figures to fine-tune your retirement savings plan.
Check your earnings record. If the earnings listed there do not seem to match your own figures, contact your present and past employers to confirm they have accurately reported your earnings to the Social Security Administration.
- The statement includes an estimate of the Social Security and Medicaid taxes you have paid so far.
- For an extra measure of security, the Social Security Administration can text you each time your online account is accessed.
- If you are at least 60, each year the agency will mail you a statement of your earnings and estimated benefits, three months before your birthday.
- If you try to access someone else's account online -- using their name and Social Security number, for example -- you might be subject to civil penalties, criminal penalties, or both.
D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.