When I became a new lawyer, I worked for a prestigious Fairfax Virginia law firm and specifically for the President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers. I was very lucky to have gotten such a job with such a wonderful mentor as Robert Hall. However, when I checked my Social Security "Confidential Earnings Record" I found, to my horror, that my earnings since starting to work in New York City at age 13, were not listed. All I saw on the Federal earnings statement was a long list of ZEROES !!!
When I contacted the Social Security Administration, I was advised that a woman in the MedWest was about to retire and collect all my benefits. Why ? Because when I got my first job, at Columbia Presbyterian Neurological Institute, at $35/week, I copied my Social Security number down incorrectly. One digit could have meant that I retired with nothing in my account. Luckily, the mistake I made was able to be rectified. The lesson to be learned. Check your records periodically. It does not cost anything, and it could prevent headaches in the future. Plus, you will be able to see how much you and your family can expect to receive in Federal retirement, disability and other benefits. In tomorrow’s post, we will look at the time limits for correcting the earnings record.