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Give yourself the gift of a Social Security statement

It's likely that during the holiday season you'll be spending time and money getting gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Why not take a moment and give yourself a gift?

We have a suggestion, and while it won't cost you a penny, it could be one of the best (and easiest) financial steps you ever take for your future.

Give yourself the gift of your own Social Security Statement. Get it online at

The online statement is simple, easy to use, and provides estimates you can use to plan for your retirement. It also provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making a statement an important financial planning tool.

Your statement allows you to determine whether your earnings are accurately posted to your Social Security records. This is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over your lifetime.

To get a personalized online statement, you must be 18 or older and able to provide information about yourself that matches information on file with Social Security.

In addition, Social Security uses Experian, an external authentication service provider, for further verification. You must provide identifying information and answer security questions in order to pass this verification. Social Security will not share your Social Security number with Experian, but the identity check is an important part of this new verification process.

When your identity is verified, you can create an account with a unique username and password to access your online statement. Your online statement includes links to information about other online Social Security services, such as applications for retirement, disability and Medicare.

This holiday season, it's likely you'll be hearing friends and family saying "you shouldn't have" as they received their gifts from you. Be sure you don't find yourself saying "I should have" when it comes to planning your own financial future.