Social Security Earnings: How to Monitor and Resolve Potential Record Errors
Have you ever checked your earnings record with the Social Security Administration for accuracy? It’s probably something that has never crossed your mind, but it could have a big impact on your retirement. Unfortunately, errors in reporting from employers to the SSA and within the SSA’s records can have dramatic consequences for future retirees. These errors can directly affect your future SSA benefits, and, if the error is large enough, it could lessen the amount of your retirement benefits significantly. To make matters worse, the SSA imposes a statute of limitations for corrections of these errors, whether or not the errors are your fault.
Per the SSA, “an earnings record can be corrected at any time up to three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which the wages were paid or the self-employment income was derived.” There are various exceptions that can buy you some extra time, though the rules surrounding those exceptions can be difficult to satisfy.
You should regularly review your earnings records for any errors, especially with the three year timeframe for correction in mind. Creating an online account with the SSA is an easy way to gain access to your records, so that you can monitor them for potential errors. The SSA provides a specific form for requesting a correction. Alongside that form, you should gather documents, such as pay stubs, to support your correction. If forms cannot be obtained, you can submit information to the SSA that will allow them to investigate the issue with the employer who submitted the incorrect information.
We strongly encourage everyone to take the time to review their earning records – it is simple to accomplish, yet can have major consequences if errors go undiscovered.
To create an account, please follow the instructions on the Social Security Administration's website here.