Nobody likes to pay their taxes and April 15 can be an anxious day. But, it can also be an opportunity. On a day when you are already focused on how much you earned and how much in taxes you paid, take the extra time to ensure that all your financial numbers are correct. The consequences of
Social Security having bad information about you can be severe.
Incorrect Earnings Could Mean No Disability Benefits
If you have earnings reported that do not belong to you, that could affect your ability to collect Social Security disability benefits. If you claim you have not worked for years, but Social Security is showing wages for you, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has to resolve that conflict. If the ALJ believes you were working, you could lose your claim.
Earnings You Did Not Earn Are A Problem . . .
Earnings that do not belong to you can occur in different ways. The most obvious is identity fraud. Someone could be using your Social Security number. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is another possible trap. Some people, either on their own or via dishonest tax preparers, claim the EITC even though they did not work during that year. When you file your tax returns, be sure to check to see if the EITC form (Schedule EIC) is included. If it does not belong, take it out and redo your return. Don't hesitate to report a tax preparer who is improperly including a claim for EITC. This fraud and it could result in legal problems.
And So Are Earnings You Did Earn But Did Not Get Credit For.
Not getting credit for wages you did earn is also a real problem. I know this personally as Social Security has twice in the last ten years reported that I had zero earnings for a year. Workers depend on their bosses to accurately report their wages. This does not always happen. I see this more often in small, or family businesses, that lack professional accounting services.
The best way to check your earnings record is with a mysocialsecurity.com account. If you have one, check it every April 15th. If you don't have an account, open one today. It only takes a few minutes and it could save you a lot of grief later on.