The Importance of Your Earnings Record in Your Disability Claim

By Disability Group

The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a record of the earnings of all persons who work in employment or self-employment covered under social security. For social security purposes, SSA records are evidence of the amounts of your earnings and the periods in which they were received. SSA uses these earnings records to determine entitlement to and the amount of benefits that may be payable based on a person’s earnings under the disability insurance program.  These records are considered the conclusive, or in other words, they are the only count of your work history and contribution that will be considered with your disability application. Thus, every applicant should be informed of their contents and ensure that the earnings are accurately reflected for every year. 

How you can find out what the record of your earnings shows?

You or your legal representative may obtain a statement of your earnings. If you have a social security number and have wages or net earnings from self-employment, you may also request and receive an earnings statement that will include an estimate of the monthly disability insurance benefits potentially payable on your earnings record, together with a description of the benefits payable under the Medicare program. You may request these statements by writing, calling, or visiting a social security office.

When you request a statement of your earnings, SSA will ask you to complete a prescribed form, or in writing, so long as you provide the relevant information: your name, social security number, date of birth, and sex.

What kind of information do the records provide?

The statement of your earnings and benefit estimates will contain the following information:

(1) Your social security taxed earnings as shown by our records as of the date of your request;(2) An estimate of the social security and Medicare hospital insurance taxes paid on your earnings (3) The number of credits, i.e., quarters of coverage, not exceeding 40, you have for both social security and Medicare hospital insurance purposes, and the number you need to be eligible for social security and Medicare hospital insurance coverage. (4) A statement as to whether you meet the credits (quarters of coverage) requirements, as described in subpart B of this part, for each type of social security benefit when we prepare the benefit estimates, and also whether you are eligible for Medicare hospital insurance coverage;(5) Estimates of the disability benefits potentially payable on your record if you meet the credits (quarters of coverage) requirements. The estimate will include the retirement (old-age) insurance benefits you could receive at age 62 (or your current age if you are already over age 62), at full retirement age (currently age 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth) or at your current age if you are already over full retirement age, and at age 70;(6) A description of the coverage under the Medicare program;(7) A reminder of your right to request a correction of your earnings record; and(8) A remark that an annually updated statement is available on request.

How and under what circumstances the record of your earnings may be changed to correct errors?

So you have reviewed all the information and you find that the earnings record has left out calculations for an entire year. What do you do? You file a request for a correction. A correction may be filed with any SSA local office. The request for correction should include the following: (1) a request for correction of an earnings record must be in writing and must state that the record is incorrect. (2) A request must be signed by you (3) a request should state the period being questioned.

(4) A request should describe, or have attached to it, any available evidence which shows that the record of earnings is incorrect.

To conclude, the earnings records is essential in providing information on your work history and eligibility. SSA reviewers also rely on this information to confirm when in fact you were no longer able to work.  Be sure that you are not cheating yourself of valuable benefits or prolonging your already long application process with misinformation. Request a copy of your earning records from you local Social Security office.