Like me, the Social Security Administration is trying to reduce its paper load. It took a major paper-killing step forward yesterday when it went live with online access to your Social Security Statements. Previously, these were snail-mailed to you annually. You could generate a benefit estimate using the SSA retirement benefit estimator but other important information (such as earnings history) could not be accessed.
Back in 2008, I wrote about how I read my annual Social Security Statement. At that time, my estimated monthly retirement benefit at full retirement age was $2,314. When I checked this morning online, the estimated benefit had increased 7.4% to $2,485. If I delay until age 70 (probable), my monthly benefit will be $3,326.
There is an upper limit on a monthly Social Security retirement benefit. For 2012, a person retiring at full retirement age can receive a maximum benefit of $2,513.
I was pleased to see how user-friendly the My Social Security account interface is. If you are worried about other folks accessing your account, you have the option of having a text message sent to you each time someone (including you) logs in to your account.
The SSA will email you annually, reminding you to review your updated statement. Generally, the updates occur after your birthday.
If you still like paper, paper statements will still be mailed to people age 60 and older who haven’t yet signed up for benefits, to 25-year-olds (to jolt them back to reality), and to other people who are unable to use the online tool.
To start the process of creating a My Social Security account and accessing your statement, follow this link.