Social Security Goes Digital For Retirement

The federal retirement program, which last year Social Security stopped mailing out estimated benefit statements to everyone who has paid into the system, launched an Internet tool this month.

Consumer Reports says the new online tool is easy and the benefits statement is a useful new resource for anyone doing financial planning or future financial projections. In fact, the statements provide some interesting new information.

If you’ve begun to think about retiring–or if you’re wondering whether it’s even a financial possibility–you’ll need a copy of your statement, which shows the Social Security retirement benefits you could collect if you claimed at the earliest possible time (age 62), the latest possible time (age 70), and at your “full retirement age”.

Setting up your account isn’t much different than the process on a bank’s web site. The agency employs Experian, the credit bureau, to verify your identity by asking some additional questions specific to you.

For instance, you might be asked to choose your mortgage company from among four listed companies, or the make of your current car.

Social Security asks if you want to add another layer of security; to do so, you’ll need to have handy either a major credit card (not including American Express), a tax return, a W-2 form or the last direct-deposit amount of your Social Security benefits.

When viewing your statement, you may feel like you’ve paid in more than your share, or that you’re getting a better deal on your benefits than you ever imagined.

In any case, it’s interesting information for every worker–and voter–to consider.

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