These statements were once mailed out and invariably ended up in the trash can unopened. Today you can access them online at www.ssa.gov where you should create an account as you will be referring to and using it the rest of your life. Every time you move, have a name change, or just need to find out important information, you will find it to be an indispensable life tool.
No matter what your age if you are working you should track the information contained in this statement especially the data that pertains to your earnings record to ensure there are no errors because there is a time limit on how long you have to correct any errors, to be precise three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which the wages were paid. There are any number of ways errors can occur from misspelled names to fraudulent use of SS numbers. SS since its inception has not been able to match over $1.2 trillion in wages and these funds were added to the Earnings Suspense File, in a recent year alone over $70 billion was added to this file. SS reports that nearly half of “the unmatched amounts” goes uncorrected. If errors go uncorrected on your statement it could drastically affect your benefits because SS calculates based on using a set number of years, for example, $100,000 divided by 35 = $2,857 however if a years earnings are missing and you have $90,000 divided by 35 = $2,571 as you can see if any one year’s earnings is wrong or missing it could lower your benefit amount. There are exceptions but they can be difficult to navigate and the burden of proof is in you.