How To Check My Earnings Records [Get The Info Here]

When applying for new SSA benefits, qualifying for government assistance programs, or paying your taxes you will need to verify your earning records.

The SSA will use these records to calculate your benefits, assistance payments, or taxes owed. It is recommended that you check your SSA earnings record at least once a year. This will help you notice any inaccuracies ASAP.

Collecting the correct documents can help the application process move faster. Once you have your documents you will need to confirm they are incorrect. If you believe there is an error you will have to contact the SSA to correct it. 

Failing to update the SSA when your income changes or reporting earnings higher than your actual earning could land you in some serious hot water and affect your eligibility for any other benefits. 

How can I get a copy of my earning records? Is there a fee to request a copy of my work history or earning records? What do I need to do if something is incorrect on my record?

This article will answer those questions. Read on to learn more. 

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How Does The SSA Use My Earning Records

The Social Security Administration will collect your work history and income. They may do so by tracking the employers who collect your SSN and record your wages. Or they may keep a record of the income you claimed at the end of each year on your taxes. 

When you go to apply for retirement benefits, disability, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other assistance program you will need to provide proof of income and work history. 

To do that, you need to access your earning records from the SSA. If your earning record shows an income lower than your actual earnings you would receive lower Social Security payments. If your record shows a higher income that is not accurate, you could get into legal trouble with the SSA later. 

It is very important your records are accurate and up to date. 

How Often Does The SSA Review My Earnings And What Information Is Included In My Earning Records

The SSA will receive information, earning records, and your work history from the IRS regularly. 

When the SSA is collecting information on your earnings and work history they will first confirm your SSN and make sure it matches its Numerical Identification (Numident) file. Your Numident file is created when you apply for your first Social Security Number. 

This file will contain your personal information, identification information, and any other information the SSA collects on you. 

The SSA will also access your income information from your employer when a W-2, W-3, or self-employment earnings form. 

A W-2 would collect information such as:

  • Your SSN
  • Your employer’s identification number (EIN)
  • Employers address, name, and ZIP
  • Your wage, salary, tips, bonuses…
  • The federal Income tax that has been withheld
  • Social Security wages
  • Social Security tax that has been withheld
  • Medicare wages/tips
  • Medicare tax that has been withheld
  • Dependent care benefit payments 
  • Nonqualified plan distributions 
  • Codes for reporting different types of our deferred compensation
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Why Do I Need To Check My Earning Records

You need to look over your earning records before applying for any government benefits to confirm they are accurate. As mentioned before, if your earnings are not accurate you may receive a lower payment or get into legal trouble.

If your earning records are incorrect and you apply for benefits, you will have to spend more time and energy later correcting the issue. It is better to confirm all work history and earnings recorded by the SSA are correct and up to date before applying for any kind of benefits. 

What Money and/or Assets Can Count As “Earnings”

The following items are considered earning and should be noted on any earning records:

  • Wages paid from an employer 
  • Cash payments for work you have completed
  • In-Kind income which is any items, supplies, housing, or other things your get for free or at a reduced price
  • Deemed income which is income from those you live with or a spouse
  • Payment for an item you have sold (sold at a physical store or online)
  • Profit earned when you work for yourself 
  • Profit earned from an investment 
  • Rental income
  • Commercial rental income 
  • Certificate of deposits 
  • A mutual fund or ETF earnings 
  • Income or dividends earned when you reinvest earnings
  • Any other assets that generate a profit
  • Unearned Income: Payments from the SSA for any benefits or assistance 

Make sure to count any costs you cover when working. Especially if you work for yourself include any rental payments, utilities, tools, subscriptions, or payments to other professionals. Those deductions can go a long way. 

What Documents Can Be Used To Verify Earning Records

There are multiple ways you could confirm your earnings. Make sure you keep any tax documents, W2, W3, or self-employment income records.

 Keep a file with any document you use when completing your tax return at the end of each year. Those documents could come in handy later if you need to provide proof to adjust your earning records.

Then the SSA will keep a record of all your earnings. To access the record that the SSA keeps you need to contact them and request the record be shared with you. 

The SSA has a few different kinds of earning records that you can request. You can request Certified Detailed Earnings Information, Non-Certified Detailed Earning Information, or Certified Yearly Totals Of Earnings.

Do I Need To Pay To Access My Earning Records

Requesting a copy of your earning records is free. You do not need to pay for your earning records unless you require a specific kind of certification. In some situations, individuals need documents to be certified or stamped with a specific seal to guarantee authenticity.

It is free to request your yearly earning totals. If you need your document certified there may be a small fee you will be charged. The fee to request a Certified Yearly Totals of Earnings is $44.00. You do not need to request a Certified Yearly Totals of Earnings unless you have been specifically directed to do so. 

You will need to pay $100.00 to request a Non-Certified Statement of Earnings and $144.00 to request a Certified Itemized Statement of Earnings. 

How Can I Check My Employment History And Earning Records With The Social Security Administration

You can check your employment and earning record by logging into your my Social Security account on the SSA’s website. Or you could call the Social Security Administration and request that your records be shared with you. 

Alternatively, you could visit your local Social Security office in person and request that the documents be shared with you.

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Once you have received your records you need to review your earning history. You can cross-reference the records the SSA provided with your tax forms or W-2 forms. Make sure the earning record includes any rental income, investment income, and other income you know you have made previously. 

 It is very important your earning record is correct Especially when applying for and receiving retirement benefits. You want your earning records to be accurate and include your highest earning years. This will make sure your payments are correct and you are receiving the most he’s qualified for. 

 If your earnings record is correct and there are no missing earnings or inaccurate earnings you don’t need to take any further action.

How To Find My Earning Records Online

You can visit the SSA’s website by clicking here. 

Once you are on their homepage, click “Sign in/Sign up” from there click “my Social Security”. That will take you to the “my Social Security” login page. 

If you do not have a my Social Security account you can create one. To create your my Social Security account you will need a valid email address, your SSN, and a mailing address. 

If you already have a my Social Security account, go ahead and log in. Once you are logged into your Social Security account you can go to “View earning record”.

You should be able to view a table that shows the years you worked, the taxed Social Security earnings, and any amount you paid for taxed Medicare earnings. 

How To Request My Earning Records By Mail 

You can request your earning records by mail by filling out this form and mailing it to the address listed in the form. 

This form will need your name, SSN, and other personal information. The form includes directions, cost breakdowns, and a Privacy Act Statement. 

You will need to provide information from your Social Security Card. 

How To Request My Earning Records By Phone Or In-Person

If you cannot access your my Social Security account online you can contact the SSA by phone. 

Call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. When speaking to an agent you can ask for the form to request your earning records to be mailed to you or you could ask if you have the option of completing the request over the phone. 

You can find a location close to you by searching your zip code in this locator. 

Make sure to call ahead of time and book an appointment. You may not receive service if you show up to the Social Security office without an appointment. 

Avoid Phone Scammers 

Please be careful when taking ANY phone call about your Social Security benefits!!! Unfortunately, there are quite a few scams related to Social Security numbers. A Social Security officer will NEVER threaten you or say you will go to jail if you do not give them your personal information. 

If you receive a phone call where someone says “there is a charge against you, you will go to jail if you do not pay money or give us your information” that is a scam! Hang up!  

Why Would My Earning Not Show Up On My Earnings Record

Your earnings could not show up on your record because they are fairly recent and haven’t been recorded yet. If this is the case you don’t need to worry too much. Once the SSA finishes going over your earnings, they will be posted on your earning records. 

Other reasons your earning  ay not show up could be

  • Your employer reported the earnings incorrectly 
  • Your employer used the wrong SSN or name when reporting your earnings 
  • You had a name change in the past due to a marriage or divorce
  • You worked using an SSN that is not yours
  • The SSA made an error when filing your earning
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What If My Earning Records Are Incorrect 

If you receive your earning records and find some discrepancies you will need to correct them. Notify the SSA of the missing or incorrect information. 

You may need to provide more documents to prove the information is incorrect. 

If the last year or two is missing from your earning records it may not be as big of a deal. The SSA may not have recorded the earnings yet. You can call the SSA and check the status of your earning records for the last year or two. 

If earning records are not showing up for another reason you need to contact the SSA and send in your W-2 forms, tax returns, and/or paystub or payslip. Provide those documents for any years where your earning record is not correct. 

You can also provide your own wage record or other documents showing you were working and receiving income. 

If you have no documentation you will need to try to remember any details of your work history. Write down when you worked, where you worked, your employer or client’s name. Include how much you earned and the SSN and name you used when you worked. 

Once you have all that information you can call the SSA or go into an office near you. An agent will work with you to correct your earning records. 

Call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. When speaking to an agent you can ask for the form to request your earning records to be mailed to you or you could ask if you have the option of completing the request over the phone. 

If you choose to visit a local Social Security office, find a location close to you by searching your zip code in this locator. Make sure to call ahead of time to set up an appointment.

The SSA may contact any employers and clients you claim to have worked for to confirm your information is accurate. 

Be prepared to answer detailed questions about your income and work history. 

What Would Happen If I Did Not Report My Earnings To The SSA

You are fully responsible for reporting any changes or updates to your income and earnings. 

Your income level directly affects your benefits. If you are reporting your income incorrectly or neglect to update the SSA once your income is above the maximum limit you will lose your benefits. 

If you fail to report a change or overpayment your social security benefits may be permanently affected. The Social Security Administration could reduce your payments, apply a charge to your next payment, or completely stop all payments. 

If you do not report an overpayment you may have additional fees or charges the SSA request later. 

If you purposely report false income or other incorrect information your payments may be sanctioned by the SSA. This means you will receive financial penalties which could include a fine and your payments being cut off. 

When you receive the first sanction from the SSA against your benefits the SSA will stop your payments for six months. If you receive a second sanction, your payments will stop for 12 months. A third sanction will halt your benefits for 24 months. 

Reporting false information when applying for Social Security benefits could also be considered committing Social Security fraud. This could permanently affect your ability to receive any benefits. 

I hope you have found this article helpful. Follow the steps to check your earning record and confirm everything is in order.