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Social Security Q&A

Seniors Should Have Received Social Security Statement for 2012; Four Tax Tips from SSA

If you did not get yours you can request it online; Retirement Estimator is just that – an estimator

Feb. 19, 2013 – The Social Security Administrations says seniors should have received their benefit statements for 2012 and Public Affairs Specialist Oscar Garcia adds four tax tips for seniors and answers a key question about the agency’s Retirement Estimator.

Question:

Will I get a tax form for my Social Security benefits?

Answer:

Yes. In fact, you should have already received it. Social Security Benefit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2012 were mailed to beneficiaries and should have been received by January 31, 2013.

If you receive Social Security and have not received your 1099, you can request one online at www.socialsecurity.gov/1099. 

Here are four other Social Security tax tips that might help you.

One, Social Security benefits are taxable for some people. About one third of those receiving benefits must pay taxes on some of their Social Security. If your total income, including Social Security and all of your other taxable income, is $25,000 or more and you file federal taxes as an individual, you’ll need to pay federal taxes on some of your benefits. That amount is $32,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

Two, does our baby need a Social Security Number? Yes. Most people apply for their baby’s Social Security number while they are still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate. But if you did not, you will need to apply for your child’s Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return. Learn more about Social Security cards and numbers at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Three, if you have legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order, or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security, as well as with your employer. If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded. That could result in you not getting all the benefits you earned when you become eligible for Social Security in the future. You can learn more about your Social Security number and how to change your name at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Four, we encourage you to carefully check your name, Social Security number, and all of the data on your W-2s, your online Social Security Statement, and Social Security card to make sure they all match. If you do not have access to your card or Statement but know your Social Security number, make sure the number and information is correct on your W-2s. A mismatch could delay your tax refund and cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future. Such errors are much easier to fix now. If you do notice an error, you should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or if the information on the W-2 is incorrect, notify your employer.

Question:

I applied for my retirement benefits this month.  The amount of my benefit is different from the figure I had received when I completed the Retirement Estimator a couple of months ago.  Why was there a difference in the two amounts?

 Answer:

The Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Please keep in mind that these are just estimates. We cannot provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits.

 

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That amount may differ from the estimates provided because of several reasons. Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future. After you start receiving benefits, they will be adjusted for cost-of-living increases. Your estimated benefits are based on current law. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2033, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 75 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.

Your benefit amount may be increased by military service or it could be decreased by pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security taxes.

The Retirement Estimator uses your Social Security earnings record to estimate your future benefits. You must enter certain identifying information about yourself, including your first name, last name, date of birth, Social Security number, place of birth and mother's maiden name.

If the information you provide does not match our records, you cannot use the Retirement Estimator. If the personal information you provide matches our records, you can enter other information, such as your expected retirement age and future wages. This information is then combined with the information we have on record about your past earnings to provide a quick and reliable online benefit estimate.

The Retirement Estimator does not show your earnings record information on which the benefit estimate was calculated. Visit the Retirement section of the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov to use the Retirement Estimator.

 For more information about Social Security, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can also email him at Oscar.h.garcia@ssa.gov.

 

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