Wages are reported to social security through the routine payroll process. Normally, an employee does not have to be concerned that their wages are correctly accounted for within the social security system. The Social Security Administration mails yearly (usually 3 months before your birthday) a statement which includes your lifetime earnings totals, and estimated benefits from Social Security upon retirement based on prior earnings.
Often, the large earnings being reported for a minor (which is unique to our industry) will trigger a review process where Social Security may freeze the account, and notify the employee that there is suspicious activity reported for their Social Security number. Many parents are very familiar with these letters.
It is crucial to not only follow up with any correspondence received from the Social Security Administration, but it is recommended that minors request their Social Security Statement annually. They are not automatically sent to minors, they must be requested. This becomes extremely important when considering the fact that an individual has only 3 years to correct their social security records. Even if you are assured that a problem has been fixed, please review the actual statement annually to verify that it indeed has been!
The request for earning information can be made online at www.ssa.gov – Under Resources, select “Your Social Security Statement” – then select “Need to Request a Statement” – You will be required to provide the following information for your child.
- Name as shown on your Social Security Card
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Mother’s maiden name – last name only (to help identify you)
Form SSA 7004-SM , Request for Social Security Statement may also be mailed in (this form is attached). This information should be reviewed to verify that all earnings were properly received and recorded. It would be a great idea to add this step to the income tax preparation routine each year. Additionally, if there are identify theft issues – with someone using your child’s social security number for work purposes, you will see the additional earnings and this can alert you to other actions you must take to protect your childs identity.