B.J. Jarrett, a spokesman for the Social Security administration, says if you can’t find your card and need it to show a prospective employer or the bank, log on to: www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
“You need to create an account in order to take advantage of the Social Security Replacement Card service,” Jarrett says. “It just takes a few minutes to log on. We authenticate you, make sure you are who you say you are, we create that account and then we put in the request to order a replacement card. It takes about two weeks (in the mail), about the same amount of time it would take if you trek to an office to do it.”
The online service is not available to people who need to make a correction to a card, change a name or apply for a child’s card. Once the account is set up, Jarrett says there are all sorts of tools available to help plan for retirement, including seeing your personalized earnings statement.
“It’s really one of the best things we do, here at Social Security, providing that opportunity for folks to help plan their future,” Jarrett says. “It’s not just for folks approaching retirement age. I’m 40 years old. I have a statement and I check it every year. I encourage folks even younger to log on, create an account and check their statement and see what Social Security means for them.”
While Social Security benefits are a big plus, Jarrett says they’re only one piece of the retirement pie. On average, Social Security will replace about 40 percent of your annual pre-retirement earnings. “That’s why that statement is so important for younger individuals,” Jarrett says. “It’s important that they see a picture of exactly what they’re due or what they’ll be eligible for so they can begin having the conversation and begin looking at other savings vehicles to help supplement what they would get from Social Security.”
According to the latest projection, the trust fund that enables Social Security to exist is only solvent for another 19 years. “We can still pay full benefits to beneficiaries up through 2034 and at that point, changes would need to be made,” Jarrett says. “Social Security’s been around 80 years and we certainly expect to be around 80 more years and beyond. We’re confident that Congress will make the necessary changes to ensure future generations will benefit from such a key program.”
More than 600,000 Iowans are now collecting Social Security benefits, either as retirees, survivors or for having a disability. Of that 600,000, about 430,000 are retired.