Social Security Today

By Mike Baksa
Social Security Administration

The People Ask…

Question: I’m trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education?

Answer: Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can key you in on the basics of financial education:  Finally, you’ll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at

Question: I need to get something from Social Security to verify my income. How can I do that?

Answer:  We provide three types of income proof:
A Benefit Verification Letter shows your monthly benefit amount. You can get your Benefit Verification Letter online at It often is used as official proof of income to:

  • Apply for a loan;
  • Give to a landlord;
  • Obtain housing assistance, or other state or local benefits;
  • Verify Medicare coverage; or
  • Verify retirement status, disability, or age.

An SSA-1099 shows your annual income for income tax purposes. We mail the SSA-1099 by January 31 each year. You can request an SSA-1099 online, or you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit a local office. Go to to locate the office nearest you.
An annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notice is sent to all beneficiaries at the end of each year providing the amount of the monthly benefit for the following year.

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