If you have not signed up for an online Social Security account, you really should. If you have signed up but are not checking the information at least annually, you really should do that, too.
As a cost-cutting measure, in recent years the Social Security Administration has reduced the number of paper statements it mails. It has encouraged people to create online accounts. Today, 42 million have a digital Social Security account.
However, creating an account and actually using it are different. A recent study by the agency revealed that less than half of those with digital accounts logged on to review their accounts in the preceding 12 months. If you are in that group, you are missing an opportunity to check the accuracy of your statements. You’re also missing out on information about future benefits that can help you plot your financial future.
Even if you are still receiving paper statements, it’s a good idea to establish an online Social Security account. Scammers are a nonstop threat, using every trick in the book to pry personal information from individuals and from businesses. Remember the Equifax breach? It exposed the personal data of 143 million people. Social Security numbers are the grand prize for fraudsters. If someone gains access to your number, he/she could then register for your account online – before you get around to it – and direct payments for direct deposits to their own financial institutions. By claiming your own account, you put an extra layer of protection between yourself and identity thieves.
Another advantage of setting up an online account is that it allows you to conveniently accomplish a number of common tasks, such as requesting a replacement card, changing your bank for direct deposits, etc. This is more convenient than a trip to the Social Security office or hours spent on hold.
To set up your personal Social Security digital account, use this link: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/