Is Your Social Security Record Complete?
A person must have "40 quarters" of reported work history (about ten years of work) to qualify for Social Security Retirement benefits. Your monthly benefit amount will be based on the total amount of your reported work history. Your spouse and your dependent minor children may also qualify for monthly benefits based on your reported work history. The age you can get retirement benefits varies but may be as low as 62. You must be a US citizen or legal resident.
If you become disabled and are unable to work, you and your spouse and dependent minor children may qualify for social security disability benefits. These benefits also require 40 quarters of reported work history unless you become disabled before reaching the age of 31. If you die, your widow and dependent minor children may be eligible to receive benefits based on your work history. In some cases, your family members must be citizens or legal residents.
So, you see, it is very important that the Social Security Administration has an accurate report of your entire work history. Each year you should get a Social Security Statement by mail.
If you do not think your reported work history is complete you should go to the nearest Social Security Office and tell them. Be prepared to give the names and addresses where you worked, the dates you worked there and how much you earned. Take with you any pay stubs or W-2s that show when and where you worked. You can also use your own records you made when working.
If you used a different social security number for work before getting your own social security number give the Social Security office the old numbers that you used along with the information of when and where you worked. If you can show that you actually did the work, then Social Security will add those old wages onto your current earnings record. You should get credit for all the work that you did no matter what social security number you used in the past.
Remember that when you retire, or if you become disabled, you will want all your work history reported as accurately as possible so that you and your family members receive the most benefits possible. Using a false social security number is against the law. However, it is extremely unlikely that any information that you give Social Security will be used against you. The Social Security Administration wants people to correct their earnings records and does not want to do anything that will discourage people from doing so.