Social Security Q&A: Retirement estimator; income verification

The Social Security Administration offers tips for retirement planning and getting proof of benefits for financial purposes.
Modified: March 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm •  Published: March 24, 2013
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Q: I'm trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer financial education?

A: Yes. You can find out what to expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security's Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission's website can key you in on the basics of financial education: www.mymoney.gov. Finally, you'll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers information on financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.

Proof of income

Q: I need something from Social Security to verify my income. How can I do that?

A: We provide three types of income proof:

A Benefit Verification Letter shows your monthly benefit amount. You can get one online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. It often is used as official proof of income to apply for a loan; give to a landlord; obtain housing assistance, or other state or local benefits; verify Medicare coverage; or verify retirement status, disability, or age.

An SSA-1099 shows your annual income for income tax purposes. We mail the SSA-1099 by Jan. 31 each year. You can request one online, or call us at (800) 772-1213 or via TTY at (800) 325-0778 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit a local office. An annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notice is sent to all beneficiaries at the end of each year.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. Contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.