Author Topic: Social Security statement not accurate  (Read 2974 times)

FerrumB5

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Social Security statement not accurate
« on: November 03, 2016, 05:46:07 PM »
Hi All,

I have received an SS statement and it's not accurate. It shows that I earned some credits in 2006, then NOTHING until 2011, while I was working without gaps all that time. I have 28 credits as of now. My salary was WAY lower in 2007-2010 than now. I plan to work for another 15 years at least.
Should I bother calling SS? They stated that my SS benefits will be based on average income over years, so since my income was a lot lower in years they made a mistake - may be I should just drop it and hence have my averaged income higher?

What do you think? Or should I still call them and ask why 0 credits for 4 years?

JoJo

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 05:56:20 PM »
Is there a chance your employer wasn't paying SS?  Did you get a W-2 those years?   Sounds like you should get this fixed.

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 05:59:12 PM »
Yes, all those years I was on W2 and paid SS taxes. I could probably find W2s from those years :)

Dee18

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 07:08:40 PM »
You want to straighten it out because SS takes into account your top 35 years.

TaxChick

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2016, 07:13:37 PM »
You definitely want to resolve this as soon as possible.  You probably can access the proof you need and this will be harder as time goes on. And if you needed to claim disability, you would want to have the credits straightened out.

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 07:24:23 PM »
Thank you for replies. Diving into office boxes to try to find my W2s or tax returns for those years. Wish me luck

LadyMuMu

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 07:51:55 PM »
I had a way off statement. Turned out the office manager at my previous employer hadn't paid SS for years and was embezzling the money. She's in jail now and fortunately it didn't tank the business. I wonder if my phone call to SSA didn't get the ball rolling.

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 07:59:26 PM »
I doubt that this example applies to my case, my previous employers were Kansas State University and Ivy League Brown U. I doubt they would want to do bad stuff for a small profit. Most likely a SS mistake

Another Reader

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 08:36:35 PM »
Usually the numbers are transposed when this happens.  Get it fixed now.

bop

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 08:39:01 PM »
They stated that my SS benefits will be based on average income over years, so since my income was a lot lower in years they made a mistake - may be I should just drop it and hence have my averaged income higher?
Let me address this part.  Roughly speaking, your SS benefits are based on your 35 best years.  If you don't have 35 years, then you will have some 0 income years mixed in.  So if you want to think of it as an average, it's like an average where you always divide by 35.  As a result, it can never hurt you (and may well help) to include all your years of income, even low-income years.  So, yes, you should have the mistake fixed.         

lhamo

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 09:52:49 PM »
Were you a student when you were working at those institutions?   When I first started as an undergraduate, I had a minimal amount of SS taken out of my PT paychecks for on campus work.  But then they changed the policy so that student employees did not pay into SS.   So when I had graduate fellowships and assistantships from 1991-1999, I didn't pay anything into social security.  I have big fat 0s on my SS record for those years, even though  I had W-2 income.  If you look at the different boxes on your W2s, assuming you can find them, it will show whether you had any SS income.

Another possibility might be that those institutions offer a pension plan that supercedes SS.  That is also common, especially with state colleges and universities (which typically have access to the state employee pension plan, though some allow you to opt out)

spicykissa

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 02:00:43 AM »
Were you a student when you were working at those institutions?   When I first started as an undergraduate, I had a minimal amount of SS taken out of my PT paychecks for on campus work.  But then they changed the policy so that student employees did not pay into SS.   So when I had graduate fellowships and assistantships from 1991-1999, I didn't pay anything into social security.  I have big fat 0s on my SS record for those years, even though  I had W-2 income.  If you look at the different boxes on your W2s, assuming you can find them, it will show whether you had any SS income.

Another possibility might be that those institutions offer a pension plan that supercedes SS.  That is also common, especially with state colleges and universities (which typically have access to the state employee pension plan, though some allow you to opt out)

Wow, I did not know this. Useful information--thank you! I'm going to check my own SS records.

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2016, 06:53:41 AM »
Were you a student when you were working at those institutions?   When I first started as an undergraduate, I had a minimal amount of SS taken out of my PT paychecks for on campus work.  But then they changed the policy so that student employees did not pay into SS.   So when I had graduate fellowships and assistantships from 1991-1999, I didn't pay anything into social security.  I have big fat 0s on my SS record for those years, even though  I had W-2 income.  If you look at the different boxes on your W2s, assuming you can find them, it will show whether you had any SS income.

Another possibility might be that those institutions offer a pension plan that supercedes SS.  That is also common, especially with state colleges and universities (which typically have access to the state employee pension plan, though some allow you to opt out)

PhD student at KSU, postdoc at Brown - so I really doubt that here I paid zero SS taxes

lhamo

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2016, 09:05:42 AM »
Were you a student when you were working at those institutions?   When I first started as an undergraduate, I had a minimal amount of SS taken out of my PT paychecks for on campus work.  But then they changed the policy so that student employees did not pay into SS.   So when I had graduate fellowships and assistantships from 1991-1999, I didn't pay anything into social security.  I have big fat 0s on my SS record for those years, even though  I had W-2 income.  If you look at the different boxes on your W2s, assuming you can find them, it will show whether you had any SS income.

Another possibility might be that those institutions offer a pension plan that supercedes SS.  That is also common, especially with state colleges and universities (which typically have access to the state employee pension plan, though some allow you to opt out)

PhD student at KSU, postdoc at Brown - so I really doubt that here I paid zero SS taxes

According to the relevant regulations at Kansas State, it appears FICA deductions are not currently required for student employees:

".040 FICA (Social Security Status)

According to Internal Revenue Service regulations, hourly student employees are exempt from the payment of social security and medicare taxes (commonly referred to as FICA) during the academic year under the conditions described below.

The hourly student must be enrolled in at least six undergraduate and/or graduate semester hours at K-State during a fall or spring semester or three undergraduate or graduate credit hours during the summer semester and regularly attending classes.

The student's appointment must be incidental to his/her course of study. The tax exemption will not apply if the appointment is considered to be an individual's primary activity at the University. Therefore, at no time will a student qualify for the exemption if the student works more than 30 hours per week.

Non-university student employees are always subject to social security and medicare taxes.

If a student does not meet these criteria, then 7.65% of their gross payment must be withheld for social security and medicare taxes, and the University must pay an additional 7.65%. Non-resident alien student employees with F-1 or J-1 visas are usually exempt from social security and medicare taxes."

See http://www.k-state.edu/policies/ppm/4700/4720.html#fica

Brown's policies are not as easy to find, but I did find this on a FAQ about payroll and withholding:

"I am a Brown student (either graduate or undergraduate) and noticed that no Social Security or Medicare taxes have been withheld from my check. Is this correct?

This is correct as long as you are enrolled at least time during the academic year. However, Social Security and Medicare taxes must be withheld from students who are enrolled less than time and from all student paid during the summer months."

See last question on this page:  https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/controller/payroll/general-informationfaq

As a post-doc, you should have been considered a regular employee and should have had FICA withheld, unless you were not a US citizen at the time.

Hope this helps.  Tracking down your W2s and checking the various boxes is the easiest way to figure out if there has been an error, but in the case of your KSU income at least it appears you probably did not have FICA withheld.

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2016, 09:10:00 AM »
Thank you very much! I'll look for old W2s

mskyle

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2016, 01:23:17 PM »
It looks like if you were a postdoctoral *fellow* at Brown you would not have had social security withheld  but if you were a postdoctoral *research assistant* you would (see Information for Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates).

Academia is weird!

FerrumB5

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Re: Social Security statement not accurate
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2016, 08:44:04 PM »
Found W2s, indeed all zeros in 2007-2010. Weird with Brown, as I started there as postdoc in 2009 and for 2 years didn't pay SS taxes, but suddenly in 2011 I started paying those... Must be a "title change" although I was not informed :)

Thank you ALL!