The Social Security Administration will run a Benefit Statement on request for anyone with a Social Security number. The report details your annual earnings, as reported to Social Security by the IRS, over your lifetime. It also estimates your future retirement benefits, as well as the monthly benefit you would be entitled to if you become disabled. If errors exist on the Benefit Statement, you can have them corrected.
Find proof of earnings for the year in which your earnings amount is incorrect. This could be a Form W-2 from your employer, paycheck stubs, tax returns, bank account statements showing your deposits, or contracts of employment. Write down the name and contact information for the employer, the correct amount of your earnings, the dates you worked, and the Social Security number that you gave to the employer.
Contact Social Security through its toll-free number, 800-772-1213. Explain to the representative that you need to correct your earnings as reported on your Social Security Benefit Statement. Request a copy of Form 7008, Request for Correction of Earnings Record. You can also obtain this form by visiting your local Social Security office, or downloading and printing it directly from the Social Security website.
Complete Form 7008. Enter your corrected information where appropriate. If you have documents supporting your corrections, copies must be enclosed with the form. Social Security does not require originals. Mail the form with a cover letter to Social Security Administration, 300 N. Greene Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. The agency will conduct an investigation; the time required depends on the extent and complexity of your claimed corrections.
- You can access the Benefit Statement online at www.ssa.gov. You must be 18 or older, and you must provide your Social Security number and answer identity authentication questions the agency gets from Experian, a private credit bureau. After authentication, you set up a My Social Security account that you can then use to access the statement.
- Social Security sets a deadline of three years, three months and 15 days after the year in which you earned wages or self-employment income to correct the amount on the Benefit Statement. However, the agency makes important exceptions for income reported on tax returns, employer reporting errors or errors made by Social Security itself.
- Social Security pays benefits according to your lifetime earnings record, but you must have reported that income to the IRS and paid payroll taxes on the income in order to earn the benefits. Social Security will not correct a Benefit Statement on the basis of cash or foreign earnings that you didn't originally report.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.