SSA online services update

As regular readers know, many Social Security activities can be completed online. 

Social Security has available online services whether you do not expect to be receiving Social Security anytime soon, are completing an application to begin SSA benefits, or are already receiving monthly benefits. Online services are available for specific groups, including employers for W-2 wage reporting and verification of employee Social Security numbers.

From the start of Fiscal Year 2014 in October 2013 through April 2014, here are examples of public online use for Social Security activities:

Through my Social Security, with services for people both receiving or not yet receiving benefits:

14,898,898 views of personal Social Security Statements for estimates and to see earnings records

664,649 changes to a current beneficiary mailing address or of direct deposit bank information (electronic fund transfer)

Applications:

Just over 50 percent of retirement and disability applications are now received online.

760,095 Retirement applications

760,825 Disability applications

391,534 Medicare only applications, for people age 65 but not starting SSA retirement

Other online actions:

145,990 requests to replace a Medicare card

128,589 requests to replace Form 1099 for filing taxes (largely during February – March)

Online services are available for you through the Social Security website, www.socialsecurity.gov, anytime at your convenience without calling or visiting an SSA office but those options are available if preferred.

The national SSA toll-free number is 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Both numbers have representatives Monday – Friday, excluding holidays, between 7:00am – 7:00pm, local time. Automated services are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-772-1213. Appointments can be made for your local office by calling the national numbers.

Local office public hours are usually Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00am – 3:00pm with Wednesday hours of 9:00am – noon. Small offices can have different public hours. Learn local office addresses and public hours here.

Did you know? The original Social Security website was launched in May 1994, just over 20 years ago. That first site received about 17,000 visits in its first month.  Now, in 2014, the SSA website averages more than 17 million visits monthly, contains roughly 45,000 pages of information including retirement planning tools and provides online services. Visit it at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Form SSA-1099 for tax year 2012

If you need to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits, a Form SSA-1099 for tax year 2012 will be needed. The SSA-1099 shows the total amount of benefits received in the previous year. Social Security mails the form to all beneficiaries by January 31.

Anyone needing to replace a SSA-1099 for 2012 can now request a replacement at www.socialsecurity.gov/1099.  A copy of your SSA-1099 will arrive in the mail in about 10 days (30 days if you live outside the United States).

The replacement SSA-1099 is mailed to the address on file at Social Security. If you recently moved without yet providing your new mailing address, you must report your change of address to Social Security before the request for a replacement SSA-1099 can be processed.

Tax tips to share:

  1. Make sure all dependents listed on a taxpayer’s annual tax forms have Social Security numbers.
  2. Check the names and numbers to make sure they match up.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) checks all the names and Social Security numbers on tax returns against Social Security Administration records. If the names and numbers do not match Social Security’s records, it could mean a delay in receiving any tax refund due.

For more information on taxation of Social Security benefits, or to order the publication “Tax information for Older Americans” (Publication #554), call the IRS at 800-829-3676 or visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

SSA-1099 for 2011 replacement & tax information

Even for this time of year, I have received far more questions about taxes and Social Security over the last month than usual. Most of the following has appeared here before within separate posts. Today I intend to restate and summarize tax related questions so they are located in one place. Social Security Administration employees cannot provide tax advice.

Q: How can I replace the SSA-1099 for 2011?

A: Request a replacement SSA-1099 online at www.socialsecurity.gov.  Start at the “Top Services” section of the homepage. Go to “services for people already receiving benefits”, then to “Get a Form 1099”and follow the simple instructions. The 1099 is not seen when requesting a replacement. You will not be able to print it from your computer. 

The replacement SSA-1099 will arrive in about 10 days at your address on file with Social Security. If you recently changed your mailing address, call the Social Security national toll-free number, 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) to report your new mailing address and request a replacement Form SSA-1099 at the same time.  

At “services for people already receiving benefits” you can also request a replacement Medicare card or a letter to verify the amount of your Social Security benefit.  

This was originally posted at the beginning of March, far in advance of tax deadlines. Since we are now in April, I hope this information is no longer needed.   

Q: Are my Social Security benefits taxable?

A: About one-third of people who receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits have to pay federal taxes on their benefits.

Generally, you have to pay federal taxes on part of your SSA benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If filing a joint return, you have to pay these taxes if you and your spouse have a total income that is more than $32,000. If paying income tax on your Social Security benefits, you might pay tax on up to either up to 50 percent or up to 85 percent of your SSA. 

No one pays income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her SSA benefits based on IRS rules.  

See http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/taxes.htm  for more about taxation of SSA benefits.  Also see IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits and IRS Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors

Note:  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not taxable.

Q: Are taxes withheld from Social Security benefits?

A: Federal taxes are not routinely withheld from Social Security benefits. You can request withholding.

Q: How do I arrange to have Federal taxes withheld from my SSA benefits?

A: Complete Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form W-4V and return it to your local Social Security office to start voluntary tax withholding. To change or end an ongoing voluntary withholding you would complete another form W-4V.  You can do this as needed during the year. 

Withholding is by your selected percentage of monthly benefits, not a flat dollar amount. When completing the W-4V you select the percentage of benefits for tax withholding. Available options are to have 7 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent of your monthly benefit withheld. 

Voluntary withholding is for Federal taxes only. The Social Security Administration has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefit.  

Social Security employees cannot provide tax advice. Discuss questions with your tax preparer or call IRS at 1-800-829-3676 (TTY 1-800-829-4059).

Need a replacement SSA-1099 for 2011? Easily done online.

Do you need to replace your SSA-1099 for tax year 2011? 

At your convenience, request a replacement SSA-1099 online at www.socialsecurity.gov.   

Start at the “Top Services” section of the homepage.  Go to “services for people already receiving benefits”, then to “Get a Form 1099”and follow the simple instructions. 

The replacement SSA-1099 will arrive at your address on file with Social Security in about 10 days.  If you recently changed your mailing address, request the form by calling the Social Security national toll-free number, 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778).  Report your new mailing address and request a replacement Form 1099 at the same time. 

If needed, at “services for people already receiving benefits” you can also request a replacement Medicare card or a letter to verify the amount of your Social Security benefit. 

If you are not computer comfortable, all these services are available by calling the Social Security national toll-free number, 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) or your local office.  

About one-third of people who get Social Security have to pay federal taxes on their benefits. Generally, you have to pay federal taxes on part of your SSA benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If filing a joint return, you have to pay these taxes if you and your spouse have a total income that is more than $32,000. If paying income tax on your Social Security benefits, you might pay tax on up to either up to 50 percent or up to 85 percent of your SSA.  Based on IRS rules, no one pays income tax on all of their SSA benefits. 

See www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/taxes.htm for more about taxation of SSA benefits. SSA employees cannot provide tax advice.