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What Is a Social Security Statement?


A Social Security statement is a document provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that outlines your earnings history and projected benefits. It serves as a comprehensive record, detailing your contributions to the Social Security system over your working life. By reviewing your statement, you can verify the accuracy of your earnings record and get an estimate of the benefits you might receive upon retirement, or in the event of disability or death. Understanding your Social Security statement can help  you make informed decisions about your retirement age and financial needs.

A financial advisor can help you with Social Security, retirement planning and taxes in retirement. Speak with an advisor today.

What’s Included in a Social Security Statement?

A Social Security statement offers a comprehensive overview of your potential benefits and your earnings history. This document is essential for planning your financial future, especially if you are considering retirement.

Regularly reviewing your Social Security statement is important for several reasons. It helps you verify that your earnings have been accurately recorded, ensures you understand the benefits you are entitled to and aids in planning for your financial future. By staying informed, you can make better decisions about your work, retirement and overall financial strategy.

Below is an overview of what you can expect to find in your statement.

Retirement Benefits

One of the most critical components of your Social Security statement is the projection of your retirement benefits. The statement provides an estimate of your monthly benefits at three different ages: at your full retirement age, at early retirement age (62) and at age 70. These estimates can help you plan when to start taking your benefits to maximize your financial security in retirement.

Work Credits

Your Social Security statement also details your accumulated work credits. Work credits are the building blocks of your eligibility for Social Security benefits. You earn credits based on your yearly earnings, and in 2024, you receive one credit for every $1,7300 in net earnings you make, up to four credits per year. 

Typically, you need 40 credits or 10 years of work to qualify for retirement benefits.

Earnings Record

An accurate earnings record is vital because your Social Security benefits are calculated based on your lifetime earnings. The statement lists your taxed Social Security earnings year by year. 

It’s important to review this record regularly to ensure that there are no discrepancies, as errors can significantly impact your future benefits. If you find any mistakes, you should report them to the SSA for correction.

Disability and Survivor Benefits

In addition to retirement benefits, your Social Security statement includes information about potential disability and survivor benefits. If you become disabled and are unable to work, or if you die, your family may be eligible for benefits. The statement provides estimates of monthly benefits that you and your family could receive under these circumstances.

Medicare Information

The statement also includes basic information about Medicare, the federal health insurance program primarily for people age 65 and older. It outlines your eligibility and potential costs, helping you plan for healthcare expenses in retirement.

How to Obtain Your Social Security Statement

A retired couple reviews their Social Security statements together.

There are two different ways you can get your Social Security statement: online and through the mail. However, the fastest and most convenient way is online through the SSA’s official website. 


To get your Social Security statement online, you need to create a “my Social Security” account. Start by visiting the SSA website and selecting the “Sign In/Up” option. You then will be guided through a series of steps to verify your identity, which may include providing your Social Security number, answering security questions and confirming your email address.

Once your account is set up, you can log in at any time to view your Social Security statement. This online portal not only gives you immediate access to your statement but also allows you to update personal information, view estimated benefits and check your earnings record for accuracy. This service is available 24/7.

By Mail

If you prefer to receive your Social Security statement in paper form, the SSA accommodates this preference as well. Traditionally, the SSA used to mail out statements to workers ages 25 and older every five years. However, due to budgetary constraints, this practice has been reduced. Now, statements are mailed only to individuals ages 60 and over who are not yet receiving Social Security benefits and who do not have a my Social Security account.

To request a mailed statement, you can complete Form SSA-7004, also known as the “Request for Social Security Statement.” This form is available on the SSA website or at any local Social Security office. After filling out the form, you can mail it to the address provided by the SSA. Your Social Security statement will typically arrive within four to six weeks.

Additional Social Security Resources

A Social Security benefit statement from 2020.

Navigating Social Security benefits isn’t always easy, but luckily, there are more resources available than just your Social Security statement. Other resources that may come in handy include:

  • SSA official website: The first and most comprehensive resource is the SSA’s official website. It offers a wealth of information on Social Security retirement benefits, disability benefits and survivor benefits. As mentioned, the website also provides access to your Social Security statement, which details your earnings history and estimates your future benefits.
  • SSA publications: The SSA publishes a variety of booklets and fact sheets that cover a wide range of topics related to Social Security. These publications are available for free on the SSA website and can be downloaded or ordered in print. They provide detailed explanations on eligibility, benefit calculations and the application process.
  • Social Security offices: Visiting your local Social Security office can also be a helpful way to get personalized assistance. The staff at these offices can answer questions, provide information on your Social Security statement and guide you through the application process. While many services are now available online, in-person visits can offer a more tailored experience, especially for complex situations.
  • Third-party organizations: Numerous third-party organizations and nonprofits offer additional resources and support related to Social Security. Organizations like AARP provide articles, workshops and one-on-one counseling to help you understand and maximize your Social Security benefits. These resources can be especially useful for staying updated on any changes to Social Security laws and policies.
  • Financial advisors: Consulting with a financial advisor who specializes in Social Security can offer personalized guidance on how to incorporate your  benefits into your overall retirement strategy. Financial advisors can help you interpret your Social Security statement, explore optimal claiming strategies and integrate Social Security with other retirement income sources.
  • Social Security calculators. SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator is another resource you can take advantage of if you want to know more about how your benefits are calculated. The tool also will allow you to see how your benefit amount might change depending on when you decide to start taking benefits.

To use the calculator, you need the following basic information:

  • Birth year
  • Annual income
  • Projected retirement age
  • Marital status

Bottom Line

Social Security statements provide a comprehensive overview of your earnings history, taxes paid and estimated benefits. Regularly reviewing your Social Security statement helps to ensure that all of the information included on it is accurate, which is incredibly important for understanding your future and current benefits.

When you know what’s in your Social Security statement, you can make more informed decisions about when to retire and how much you might need to save. Correcting any errors early can prevent potential issues when you apply for benefits, so always pay close attention to them.

Retirement Planning Tips

  • SmartAsset’s retirement calculator is an online tool that helps individuals estimate how much they need to save to ensure a comfortable retirement based on their current financial situation and future income needs. It factors in variables such as age, income, savings rate and expected retirement age to provide personalized advice and projections.
  • A financial advisor can help you plan and save for retirement. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

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