Error with Social Security Earnings History

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm

First of all, let me recommend to everyone to check your social security earnings history! Also keep your tax records. Indefinitely.

Now, my problem. Fresh out of college I worked for a small company, and I was their first employee. For the 3 years of post college employment, I show $0 on my SS earnings history (years 2009, 2010, 2011). All in all, I am looking at roughly $100k missing from my earnings history. I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this. Here is what I have tried so far:

1. Call SSA. I have done this 3 times now, talked to 3 different agents, and have lost roughly 9 hours of my life because of it.
2. Find old W2s. I only have one, from 2011 (the smallest one at ~$15k because I left that year).
3. Get a copy of W2 from IRS. I efiled, and they dont have copies of the W2.
4. Speak with previous employer. He said he is looking into it, but I am not going to hold my breath. I am fairly confident they paid in, but did not file. He indicated that he thought Quickbooks was taking care of the form filing.

My next step is to visit the local office with my 2011 W2 in hand and hope for the best. It will probably be a waste of 3-4 hours of my life. Anyone have any other ideas?

soccerrules
Posts: 819
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by soccerrules » Wed May 15, 2019 6:12 pm

It is probably worth continuing to find the records. It is odd that the company doesn't have records from 9-10 years ago.

I would encourage you to keep copies of W2 and Tax Return for ALL years going forward. I keep 10 years of all tax documents and receipts, then shred a set of back-up receipts/paystubs/prop tax/charitable donation receipt every year and only keep the W2 and Tax Return for older than 10 years

Let's project a little. Assume you need the $100K in earnings for part of your top 35 years of indexed earnings. I will guess that this will equate to $300-$400K in indexed earnings at your FRA. Assuming you have passed the 2nd bend point and under the current laws that would equate to about $100-$120/mo in FRA benefit.((indexed earnings /420) *.15) So that "lost" income is worth about $100/mo in your SS benefit at FRA.

If you are likely to work more than 35 years and replace some of the smaller income years then these years of $30-40K will not matter.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

User avatar
celia
Posts: 9306
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by celia » Wed May 15, 2019 6:27 pm

Do you have bank statements from that time showing the regular income coming in—at least for the first three paychecks and last three?

In the grand scheme of things, these amounts are pretty small. When you retire, SS uses your 35 inflation-adjusted highest working years to determine your retirement benefit. When you are young, your income tends to be lower than it will be in the future.

But it will be easier to fix this now, than in 35 years.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 15776
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by Watty » Wed May 15, 2019 6:36 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm
I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this.
You might also try getting copies of your state tax returns for those years.

User avatar
samsoes
Posts: 1188
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:12 am
Location: Northeast Rat Race

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by samsoes » Wed May 15, 2019 6:43 pm

Silly question, but was SS withheld from your wages during the missing years?

On the W2 you have from 2011, are boxes 3 and 4 non-zero amounts?
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:40 pm

samsoes wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:43 pm
Silly question, but was SS withheld from your wages during the missing years?

On the W2 you have from 2011, are boxes 3 and 4 non-zero amounts?
Yes, SS was withheld

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:42 pm

soccerrules wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:12 pm
It is probably worth continuing to find the records. It is odd that the company doesn't have records from 9-10 years ago.

I would encourage you to keep copies of W2 and Tax Return for ALL years going forward. I keep 10 years of all tax documents and receipts, then shred a set of back-up receipts/paystubs/prop tax/charitable donation receipt every year and only keep the W2 and Tax Return for older than 10 years

Let's project a little. Assume you need the $100K in earnings for part of your top 35 years of indexed earnings. I will guess that this will equate to $300-$400K in indexed earnings at your FRA. Assuming you have passed the 2nd bend point and under the current laws that would equate to about $100-$120/mo in FRA benefit.((indexed earnings /420) *.15) So that "lost" income is worth about $100/mo in your SS benefit at FRA.

If you are likely to work more than 35 years and replace some of the smaller income years then these years of $30-40K will not matter.
Ugh thank you for doing the math, but now I really do need to figure this out! I am on a path and hope to be at least partially retired at 50 (maybe 55 at the latest, currently 33), so I know every year counts but I was hoping it was less that that.

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:43 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:36 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm
I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this.
You might also try getting copies of your state tax returns for those years.
That is an excellent idea!

On that note, is there anywhere on any tax forms other than W2 that might show SS amount withheld?

Not Law
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:05 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by Not Law » Wed May 15, 2019 7:46 pm

I had to file an "amended" return for a missing year, with no changes from the original return. The purpose for filing was noted to allow SS to record the income for that year. This was because the only way SS knows you had (schedule C) income is via IRS tax forms, and obviously SS had missed the year in question.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 15776
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by Watty » Wed May 15, 2019 8:38 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:43 pm
Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:36 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm
I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this.
You might also try getting copies of your state tax returns for those years.
That is an excellent idea!

On that note, is there anywhere on any tax forms other than W2 that might show SS amount withheld?
Just for brainstorming;

1) College loan/aid paperwork.

2) Mortgage or car loan applications.

3) Security clearance paperwork.

4) Divorce or child support paperwork or other lawsuits.

5) Credit reports may include your income(not sure).

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am

Not Law wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:46 pm
I had to file an "amended" return for a missing year, with no changes from the original return. The purpose for filing was noted to allow SS to record the income for that year. This was because the only way SS knows you had (schedule C) income is via IRS tax forms, and obviously SS had missed the year in question.
Are you speaking as the employer or the employee? Are you saying you were able to show SS withholding without a W2 or W4, or that you had to file the W4 for the year in question which showed you had paid in on the schedule C?

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:55 am

Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:38 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:43 pm
Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:36 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm
I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this.
You might also try getting copies of your state tax returns for those years.
That is an excellent idea!

On that note, is there anywhere on any tax forms other than W2 that might show SS amount withheld?
Just for brainstorming;

1) College loan/aid paperwork.

2) Mortgage or car loan applications.

3) Security clearance paperwork.

4) Divorce or child support paperwork or other lawsuits.

5) Credit reports may include your income(not sure).
All excellent ideas, and unfortunately none apply except number 2. That is how I got the 2011 W2 :D

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:57 am

celia wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:27 pm
Do you have bank statements from that time showing the regular income coming in—at least for the first three paychecks and last three?

In the grand scheme of things, these amounts are pretty small. When you retire, SS uses your 35 inflation-adjusted highest working years to determine your retirement benefit. When you are young, your income tends to be lower than it will be in the future.

But it will be easier to fix this now, than in 35 years.
No bank statements, and I dont even have accounts at that bank anymore. Thanks for the suggestion though!

Silk McCue
Posts: 2210
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by Silk McCue » Thu May 16, 2019 10:11 am

You can get a Tax Account Transcript for the current tax year and up to 10 years prior online or using Form 4506-T. Not certain if it gives you everything you need but I would request them immediately. UPDATE - Look at the Wage and Income Transcript in addition to this.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-ret ... order-them

Tax Account Transcript - shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is available for the current tax year and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, you’re limited to the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. Note: If you made estimated tax payments and/or applied an overpayment from a prior year return, you can request this transcript type a few weeks after the beginning of the calendar year to confirm your payments prior to filing your tax return.


Wage and Income Transcript - shows data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. Current tax year information may not be complete until July. This transcript is available for up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.

Cheers
Last edited by Silk McCue on Thu May 16, 2019 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

mptfan
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 10:16 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:11 am
You can get a Tax Account Transcript for the current tax year and up to 10 years prior online or using Form 4506-T. Not certain if it gives you everything you need but I would request them immediately.
This.

mptfan
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 10:32 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:11 am
Wage and Income Transcript - shows data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. Current tax year information may not be complete until July. This transcript is available for up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.
I have wage and income tax transcripts for prior tax years and I can confirm that they show the amount of social security tax withheld.

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm

EDIT: I revisited the Wage and Income Transcript, and they do not contain anything about the missing wages from 2009, 2010, or 2011. I am 100% certain that when I filed I claimed the income and filled all the boxes from the W2.

I believe the Wage and Income Transcript is filled with data filed by the employer (I see all the 1099s I was issued, and all the employers must come from the W4), hence the reason it is not present and back to square one.
Last edited by jeg208 on Thu May 16, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

mptfan
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 12:52 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm
I did get one copy from the IRS, but it indicated that since I efiled there was no copies of W2s. I might have went the wrong route though. Looks like the "Wage and Income Transcript" is what I am after
Right. There are different types of tax transcripts and they are all different and show different information ... Return Transcript, Record of Account Transcript, Account Transcript and Wage and Income Transcript. You want the "Wage and Income Transcript." The last 4 years are available online, but for older records I think you have to request them by submitting a form.

mptfan
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 1:02 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm
EDIT: I revisited the Wage and Income Transcript, and they do not contain anything about the missing wages from 2009, 2010, or 2011. I am 100% certain that when I filed I claimed the income and filled all the boxes from the W2.

I believe the Wage and Income Transcript is filled with data filed by the employer (I see all the 1099s I was issued, and all the employers must come from the W4), hence the reason it is not present and back to square one.
Are you saying the social security payments appear on the W2s that you have from your employer but those payments do not appear on the Wage and Income Transcript from the IRS? Do you think your employer gave you a W2 showing that social security taxes were deducted from your pay, but your employer did not send the social security tax payments to the IRS?

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 1:03 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:43 pm
Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:36 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:52 pm
I am hoping someone might have some ideas of how to resolve this.
You might also try getting copies of your state tax returns for those years.
That is an excellent idea!

On that note, is there anywhere on any tax forms other than W2 that might show SS amount withheld?
Just realized I was working and living in Washington during this time, so no state filing.

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:02 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:44 pm
EDIT: I revisited the Wage and Income Transcript, and they do not contain anything about the missing wages from 2009, 2010, or 2011. I am 100% certain that when I filed I claimed the income and filled all the boxes from the W2.

I believe the Wage and Income Transcript is filled with data filed by the employer (I see all the 1099s I was issued, and all the employers must come from the W4), hence the reason it is not present and back to square one.
Are you saying the social security payments appear on the W2s that you have from your employer but those payments do not appear on the Wage and Income Transcript from the IRS? Do you think your employer gave you a W2 showing that social security taxes were deducted from your pay, but your employer did not send the social security tax payments to the IRS?
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)

mptfan
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by mptfan » Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)
Maybe your former employer did not send the social security payments to the IRS, that would explain it. If that is true, then your earnings history from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is correct and your beef is with your former employer.

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 1:11 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)
Maybe your former employer did not send the social security payments to the IRS, that would explain it. If that is true, then your earnings history from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is correct and your beef is with your former employer.
Well, since I think I have exhausted all other options, I think Ill head to the local SSA office with my 2011 W2. Then we will know for sure...

3-20Characters
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:20 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by 3-20Characters » Thu May 16, 2019 1:40 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)
Maybe your former employer did not send the social security payments to the IRS, that would explain it. If that is true, then your earnings history from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is correct and your beef is with your former employer.
This was my first thought upon reading the op, but I didn’t want to be accusatory without any facts.

rantk81
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by rantk81 » Thu May 16, 2019 1:50 pm

3-20Characters wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:40 pm
mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)
Maybe your former employer did not send the social security payments to the IRS, that would explain it. If that is true, then your earnings history from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is correct and your beef is with your former employer.
This was my first thought upon reading the op, but I didn’t want to be accusatory without any facts.
My thoughts too. How many folks worked at that former employer? One would hope that someone else would have caught this by now. I've heard stories of scummy employers who not only neglect to pay the employer-required part of social security taxes, but also "withhold" FICA from their employees and just keep that money too!
Depending on how helpful to you they are, and if that employer is still in business, you might want to consider reporting fraud to the IRS tip line....

Topic Author
jeg208
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:42 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by jeg208 » Thu May 16, 2019 3:04 pm

rantk81 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:50 pm
3-20Characters wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:40 pm
mptfan wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 pm
jeg208 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 pm
That is correct. I believe he paid, but failed to file the W4. Or he is a scumbag :)
Maybe your former employer did not send the social security payments to the IRS, that would explain it. If that is true, then your earnings history from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is correct and your beef is with your former employer.
This was my first thought upon reading the op, but I didn’t want to be accusatory without any facts.
My thoughts too. How many folks worked at that former employer? One would hope that someone else would have caught this by now. I've heard stories of scummy employers who not only neglect to pay the employer-required part of social security taxes, but also "withhold" FICA from their employees and just keep that money too!
Depending on how helpful to you they are, and if that employer is still in business, you might want to consider reporting fraud to the IRS tip line....
I was their first and only employee until 2011. I did talk with him on the phone about a month ago after emailing him for a month or two. They are really busy and he said he would look into it and apologized. I still think they probably paid it in but didnt file the forms correctly. I don't understand how it wasnt caught before now though. The IRS was beating down my door when my wife forgot to file a form 941 even though we had submitted the payment.

soccerrules
Posts: 819
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Error with Social Security Earnings History

Post by soccerrules » Thu May 16, 2019 5:42 pm

jeg208 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:42 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:12 pm
It is probably worth continuing to find the records. It is odd that the company doesn't have records from 9-10 years ago.

I would encourage you to keep copies of W2 and Tax Return for ALL years going forward. I keep 10 years of all tax documents and receipts, then shred a set of back-up receipts/paystubs/prop tax/charitable donation receipt every year and only keep the W2 and Tax Return for older than 10 years

Let's project a little. Assume you need the $100K in earnings for part of your top 35 years of indexed earnings. I will guess that this will equate to $300-$400K in indexed earnings at your FRA. Assuming you have passed the 2nd bend point and under the current laws that would equate to about $100-$120/mo in FRA benefit.((indexed earnings /420) *.15) So that "lost" income is worth about $100/mo in your SS benefit at FRA.

If you are likely to work more than 35 years and replace some of the smaller income years then these years of $30-40K will not matter.
Ugh thank you for doing the math, but now I really do need to figure this out! I am on a path and hope to be at least partially retired at 50 (maybe 55 at the latest, currently 33), so I know every year counts but I was hoping it was less that that.
Jeg-
If you are planning to retire at 50 or 55, that $100/mo benefit increase at age 67 probably will not move the needle much for you. If I project again that your FRA benefit will be @$2000/mo (again age 67 or 34 years from now :shock: ). $100/mo is only 5% of that $2K benefit or looked at differently, you need $35K in savings at a SWR of 3.5% to generate $100/mo to last 30 years. Not much

In order to retire at 50/55 you are going to need substantial assets and/or lower cost of living.

Still you earned the money and it is better than a $0 in one of your SS years.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

Post Reply