Why open ‘my Social Security’ 1

There are countless reasons why you can benefit from using your personal my “Social Security” account. Here are five that highlight why opening an account today can help you and the people you love.

Saving you time

There’s no need to leave your home when using the features of my Social Security. You may think you need to speak with a Social Security representative to check your application status, set up or change direct deposit or request a replacement Social Security card. All you have to do is log in or create an account at ssa.gov/myaccount.

Security

When you open an account, it prevents someone else from possibly creating an account in your name. And, we use the two-step authentication to verify you are the one logging in to your account. Your personal information is very important to us. You can access your personal information safely and securely using my Social Security.

Reassurance

Did you know you can see your entire work history with your personal my Social Security account? This allows you to verify if your employers reported your earnings to us correctly. This is very important. Accurate wage reporting will ensure you get the benefits you earned when you begin receiving benefits.

Planning for your future

Retirement planning is essential for a secure future. The Retirement Calculator lets you enter the age or date when you expect to begin receiving benefits to generate an estimated benefit amount. If you enter your estimated future salary amount, that will be included when calculating the estimated benefit amount. You can also view your estimated disability benefit on the Estimate Benefits page.

Control

A personal my Social Security account gives you the control to conduct your Social Security business wherever and whenever you want without needing to speak with a representative. You can check the status of your claim, get an instant proof of benefits letter or copy of your SSA-1099 and more. And people in most states can request a replacement Social Security card. Check out ssa.gov/myaccount and put yourself in control.

Social Security in plain language

Some of the terms and acronyms people use when they talk about Social Security can be a little confusing. We’re here to help you understand all you need to know.

We strive to explain your benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” This can be particularly challenging when talking about complicated programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare. If there’s a technical term or acronym that you don’t know, you can easily find the meaning in our online glossary at www.ssa.gov/agency/glossary.

Everyone uses shorter versions of words nowadays. We do too. Social Security’s acronyms function as shorthand in conversations about our programs and services. If you’re nearing retirement, you may want to know what PIA (primary insurance amount), FRA (full retirement age) and DRCs (delayed retirement credits) mean. These terms describe your benefit amount — based on when you decide to take it. If you take your retirement benefit at FRA, you’ll receive the full PIA (amount payable for a retired worker who starts benefits at full retirement age). So, FRA is an age and PIA is an amount.

Once you receive benefits, you get a COLA most years. A COLA is a Cost-of-Living Adjustment, and that will usually mean a little extra money in your monthly benefit.

What about DRCs? Delayed retirement credits are the incremental increases added to the PIA if you delay taking retirement benefits beyond your full retirement age. If you wait to begin benefits beyond FRA — say, at age 68 or even 70 — your benefit increases.

If one of those terms or acronyms comes up in conversation, you can be the one to supply the definition using our online glossary. Sometimes learning the terminology can deepen your understanding of how Social Security works for you.

Nilsa Henriquez is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist located in Queens.

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