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Reviewing your Social Security statement helps with planning

Social Security helped rescue generations of Americans from poverty and helps the rest of us worry a little less about retirement benefits. The days of thinking that our Social Security accounts will manage themselves are over, and we owe our future selves to pay attention to how our benefits develop.

Every worker in the United States receives an annual statement about their Social Security accounts. This document contains some valuable information for our retirement planning and other benefits.

This statement contains the estimated benefits that you will receive if you decide to begin collecting benefits at various possible ages. These estimates are not guaranteed correct, and are intended simply as guides for making decisions about retirement.

Disability benefits available through Social Security are also included in this statement if you have earned enough credits to apply for them. These can be very useful in the case of a temporary and permanent disability that infringes on your ability to work.

Medicare, the national health insurance program for citizens aged 65 or above, is also administrated by a Social Security credits system. These benefits can be found on the annual statement.

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) has miscounted all of your earnings that apply to benefits on your statement, you or your legal advisor should contact the agency to correct it. The SSA estimates that around $35 billion in earnings were not counted towards benefits in one recent year.

If you fear you are not receiving the appropriate Social Security or Medicare benefits, an attorney can help identify the problem and present it to the appropriate administrators.

Source: USA Today, "Yearly task: 1 smart Social Security move for Americans of all ages," Matthew Frankel, May 26, 2018

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