- Posted by Jacob Gordon
- On February 15, 2022
When tax time comes around, one document that just about every senior should expect to receive and give to their tax preparer is a 1099-R from the Social Security Administration claiming income in Social Security benefits for the tax year. This document typically comes by mail in the January following the tax year, but in the case that it is lost or never received, it is crucial to understand how to request and retrieve a replacement 1099-R, as well as to understand the easiest and most efficient ways to contact the Social Security Administration in general.
For starters, unless specifically stated to you over the phone or in an official letter from the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Administration will never call you. They will not make any threat of suspension of benefits or Social Security number, nor will they demand any sort of payment or personal information over the phone. If you receive a call from someone purporting to represent the Social Security Administration, they recommend hanging up immediately and reporting the call to their Office of the Inspector General.
While the SSA does send 1099-R forms by mail every year, they can be difficult to get replaced or re-sent. It is highly recommended that all Social Security beneficiaries, or anyone expecting to ever receive Social Security benefits, create an online account with Social Security at ssa.gov. You will be required to verify your identity either through the confirmation of codes sent via text or phone, scanning of official government identification, or possibly even facial recognition software. You may also be asked to answer multiple-choice questions involving your credit history, so creating an account while you are younger with less credit history to remember is also advisable.
With an online account on ssa.gov, you can request a digital copy of your most recent 1099-R or have another paper copy sent to you by mail. Currently, this can only be done for your most recent 1099-R. If you need a 1099-R from a previous year, you will need to call Social Security at (800) 772-1213. They may offer to send you a copy of a previous form 1099-R, but will likely advise you that the only way to retrieve a 1099-R from previous tax years is to visit a Social Security Administration office in person.
The best time to create an online account with Social Security is today – before reaching retirement age. You can view your eligibility for future benefits on their site, and once eligible, it is a great resource to track your benefits and maintain your tax documents from Social Security without needing to call or visit them in person. Make sure that only you and/or someone you trust knows your Social Security information.
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