4 Good Reasons to Sign Up for my Social Security during National Social Security Month
Even if you aren’t close to receiving benefits, my Social Security is a useful tool to have.
If you’ve been following Consolidated Credit on any of our social networks, you know that April is National Financial Literacy Month. All throughout April, we’ve been giving followers daily tips, asking them to complete our Credit Smart Survey and offering fun incentives to promote financial literacy. But this morning, an email in my inbox from the Social Security Administration clued me in that April is another national month of celebration, too. It’s also National Social Security Month. And the SSA’s email was a great reminder of why a free tool that they offer is so useful…
my Social Security is a tool that I’ve promoted before because it’s so useful for a number of things. The last time I talked about it was for Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, because you can create a my Social Security account as an easy way to prevent identity theft. But that’s not all you can do with it. So, in honor of National Social Security Month, here are the top four ways to use my Social Security long before you start to receive benefits.
#1: It gives you a free tool to estimate Social Security benefits during retirement
A big part of the challenge of retirement planning is figuring out how much money you’ll need. Experts say you need about eight times your annual salary saved in retirement accounts by the time you hit 65. But what about Social Security benefits?
In truth, many retirees rely heavily on Social Security benefits to cover a big portion of their income during retirement. But you don’t want to overestimate how much you think you’ll get. Knowing ahead of time can help you save more effectively, because you’ll have better targets.
my Social Security includes a retirement benefit estimator. You just have to enter some basic personal information and your current net annual income. Then it tells you what benefits you’ll receive at three common retirement ages (62, 67 and 70).
The site even provides more information, such as a helpful little statistic that Social Security benefits typically only cover about 40% of the income you need during retirement. That gives you a useful metric for what you need to save to cover the rest. This makes retirement planning more strategic and keeps your goals based in reality.
#2: It can help you determine how much insurance you need
The same benefits estimator also goes into detail about how much Social Security benefits you’d receive if you become disable. In addition, it explains death benefits for your spouse and children in case you meet an untimely end.
Much like Social Security benefits help you make effective retirement savings plan, this part helps you make decisions about insurance. You can decide if you want to get Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance or Life Insurance. It also helps determine how much insurance you need so you can avoid overpaying.
#3: You can order replacement Social Security cards
There have been at least a few times in my life that I’ve either lost or thought I lost my Social Security card. The stress was ridiculous, because the idea of going to a Social Security Administration office is right up there with jumping in an active volcano. I’d rather avoid it, if I can.
That makes my Social Security even more useful, because it’s the only way you can order a replacement card online.
#4: It prevents Social Security identity theft
Creating a my Social Security account is an easy way to prevent Social Security identity theft. And that’s a big deal, because Social Security ID theft is one of the worst types of theft possible. It can be impossible to prove that you are you and someone else is not when they have your Social Security number.
Opening a my Social Security account won’t prevent someone from getting their hands on your number. However, it will prevent someone else from opening one of these accounts using your number. That’s important, because if they open an account, then they can use other features that you aren’t using, such as applying online for disability in your name.
And if they have the account information, again, it makes it that much harder to prove that you are the real you. Otherwise, you’ll have a very tough fight on your hands.