Who would imagine that you could get a wrong estimate of your Social Security benefits from the Social Security Administration? The story is yet another reminder about how you need to double-check your numbers, take a hard look at what you’re being told, and keep good records of previous Social Security statements. In an odd quirk, Social Security finally acknowledged in early August that a glitch caused the agency to send out some incorrect “On Request” statements. The troubled reports were triggered if you asked for information on your Social Security account via a paper form, known as an SSA-7004.
“Of the tens of thousands of paper requests the agency receives annually, less than 1% of those statements issued contained errors,” according to an email from Mark Hinkle, acting press officer in the national Social Security office. Social Security said a coding issue caused errors on a very small number of the On Request paper statements that were issued since 2017. The statements displayed the correct estimated benefit amounts but the mistakes were made when the projected benefits were applied to incorrect ages at which the person would receive them. Incorrect On Request Statements were sent to people who:
- Were born in 1955, 1956, or 1957
- Were 62 or older at the time of their request
- Indicated on SSA-7004 that they planned to stop working at age 66
The mistake was fbrought to light by a Connecticut financial planner who looked at a statement that showed a figure for claiming at age 62 that was nearly the same as if the client claimed at full retirement age. With those kind of numbers—which are clearly wrong—why bother waiting beyond age 62 to a few months past 66? The Social Security retirement benefit system has tons of moving parts. But in general, you’re getting significantly more each month when you claim Social Security benefits at your full retirement age and even more at age 70, comparedto claiming at age 62.
This is another good reason to create a mySocialSecurity account to view personalized statements and earnings history. You can find the full story at USA Today.