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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

You Can Now Track Your Social Security Benefits Online


Most seniors know a great deal about Social Security. After all, according to the Social Security Administration, these benefits make up about 38 percent of the average retiree’s income. Many retirees actually receive more than 50 percent of their income from Social Security, so it makes sense to stay up to date on related news and possible future changes to the program. However, here’s something you may not already know: since 2012, it has been possible to track your Social Security benefits online.

Of course, you have to sign up first.

Visit the “my Social Security” sign up page at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to create your personal account. In addition to your name, Social Security number and address, you’ll need to provide the correct answer to a few personal questions based on the financial information in your Experian credit report. Questions range from the amount of your mortgage payment to when you took out your last auto loan. Correct answers allow the site to confirm your identity.

It’s easier than it sounds. The most time consuming part of setting up your new account is likely to be finding a user name that is not already in use and selecting the “password change” questions. Once your account is active you can view estimated benefits and your earnings record. Or, if you’re already collecting benefits, you can review payments and change your bank information for direct deposit.

There are a few things you cannot do online.

If you spot a mistake in your earnings record, you cannot correct it online. Instead, you’ll have to call the Social Security Administration to report the error. Additionally, if you’re interested in the Supplemental Security Income program that covers disabled adults and children with limited income and resources, you will need to schedule an appointment at your local agency office.

The online system also does not include any features for reporting stolen Social Security cards, requesting replacement cards, or changing the name on your card due to marriage or divorce. That must be done the old fashioned way with a call to the Social Security Administration.

Tracking your Social Security benefits is an important step in retirement planning.

To qualify for Social Security benefits, you earn “credits” for each year you work. Most people need to earn 40 credits over their working lifetime to receive benefits. If you have earned enough credits, the Social Security Administration can estimate your future benefits based on your average earnings. Generally, the older you are—and the closer you are to retirement—the more accurate this estimate will be.

The estimate includes how much you can expect to receive if you retire at early retirement age (62), full retirement age (currently 67) or age 70. You can use this information to determine the amount of other income you’ll need to generate—from savings and investments—for a comfortable post-retirement life.

If you’d like assistance reviewing your Social Security benefits information and planning your retirement investments, I’m here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions on this or any other financial planning topic.