I was reviewing my Social Security Statement that came in the mail earlier this year. I noticed one year looked extremely low — $462 in 2004.
“What was I doing in 2004?” I wondered.
It was two semesters of college — a freshman and sophomore year. I had a slightly-above-minimum-wage job for the summer, and I know I earned more than $462.
I have a copy of my 1040 form for that year, and it was around $2,300. Hmm.
I called the Social Security info number and they told me I need the actual W2s for each year in question for them to adjust their records. Those things live at my Mom’s house for the years I was in school, so I’ll need to get a hold of those before I proceed further.
Taking a quick look at my records for 2006, I see that Social Security thinks I earned about $3,000 less than I actually did for the year. What the heck?
I’m going to have to go through this year-by-year to make sure they record every dollar I earned.
Take-away lessons: Save all your W2s and other tax records for at least 7 years, if not more. And double-check the records Social Security has with the files you have!
Why is this so important? Well, you need 40 credits (maximum of 4 credits earned per year) to receive retirement benefits, according to the info I received in the mail.
One credit = $1,120 of wages, or $4,480 for the year to get your 4 credits.
So, for 2004, I think I’m entitled to 2 credits, and in 2006 I think they owe me 2 more. That’s at least 4 more credits, stinkers!
For the years their official records show, I have 16 credits. I think it should be 21. And that’s not counting 2009 or 2010, which should get me 4 credits per year.
I am fully aware that as it stands now, the Social Security retirement benefit will be exhausted long before I reach age 62 or 67, for that matter. I understand that I may not get any money from the SSA at all. But if I’m entitled to a little bit of money when I’m older, then yes, I want to get my money!
Since I’m a SAHM and earn money from home (and not a ton, mind you), every dollar counts. I want to be sure I get those 40 credits, just in case we can receive some sort of payout from it.
Plus, I want to be sure their records show I earned as much as I did in those previous years, since that will determine the amount of retirement benefit I get, or survivor’s benefit my family would get should I kick the bucket young (God, I’d rather stick around for awhile please!), or if I somehow became disabled and unable to earn income.
So I’m going to gather all the W2s for those years so they can adjust their records. I hope this process won’t be a giant pain.
Have you seen errors in your Social Security earnings statement? Do you check?