Have You Reviewed Your Earnings Record?
There are many facets of exploration into the Social Security System and the focus is often on when to collect benefits and how much the benefits will be. There are, however, other pieces of Social Security to be reviewed and discussed prior to that time period. In this piece, we’ll focus on one of those: your earnings record.
Your earnings record is where the Social Security Administration (SSA) tracks your annual earnings (for Social Security and Medicare purposes) and is used to determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits and the level at which they will be paid to you in retirement.
After each year you work and pay taxes into the Social Security System, you will receive a Form W-2 detailing wages for the prior year. The W-2 includes many boxes with information, one of them being a ‘Social Security Wages’ figure that reflects the income subject to Social Security taxes. The Social Security program, officially titled “Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI)”, puts limits on the amount of your earnings that are subject to taxation in a given year. This limit changes each year with changes in the national average wage index and is called the ‘contribution and benefit base’. For 2017 it’s $127,200. A historical list of the contribution and benefit base can be found here.
- Review your earnings record each year to ensure your earnings continue to be reported accurately (or so
you can correct them in a timely manner).
- Send us a copy of your most recent Social Security statement via one of these secure methods (as it includes sensitive personal information).
- We’ll save the statement for our records and prepare a Social Security Analysis to review your filing options and we’ll discuss with you our recommendation as you near retirement age.