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Missing earnings in the 1980's
Old 09-05-2019, 09:17 PM   #1
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Missing earnings in the 1980's

Need some advise.......I reviewed my SSA annual earning and one year is reported as $0

How do I go about finding my earnings for a year in the 1980s that Social Security reports as $0.

I was working for a government agency that year. Is it possible that they did not report earnings to SSA ? Or did I leave retirement money there by error ?
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Old 09-05-2019, 09:26 PM   #2
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I don't know how to go about correcting it. Perhaps start by contacting your 1980's workplace? Or do you have your IRS 1040 return from that year?

Back in the 1980's a bunch of people at my workplace noticed that they had "0" for a year or two or earnings. They raised a ruckus at work. Turns out a computer tape (remember those?) was never run. Luckily, it was just a few years later that the error was discovered, so old files/tapes were still around.


Googled and just found this....https://www.investmentnews.com/artic...rnings-records

"Normally, you cannot correct your earnings after three years, three months and 15 days from the end of the taxable year in which your wages were paid, according to the Social Security Administration. However, you can correct your record after that length of time if you have proof of your earnings such as a tax return, a W-2 form showing wages earned and taxes paid or a pay stub. Once you have gathered your documents, contact Social Security at 800-772-1213 to begin the process of correcting your earnings record."

Good luck.

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Old 09-05-2019, 09:44 PM   #3
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Lots of government employees do not pay into social security, so you may not have paid into it then. But yes, look for an old tax return to confirm that.

If you did not pay into SS, then you were covered by a retirement plan, but if you only worked there that one year, you probably weren't vested. If you contributed your own money, then that's yours.

Presumably the agency still exists, so their HR team may be able to help if you call them. They should at least be able to tell you whether their employees contribute to SS.
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:03 PM   #4
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Yes, many state governments do not pay into SS, and that could be the case with the OP.

I keep all of my tax returns. If there's any problem, I have my own records.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octogirl View Post
Need some advise.......I reviewed my SSA annual earning and one year is reported as $0

How do I go about finding my earnings for a year in the 1980s that Social Security reports as $0.

I was working for a government agency that year. Is it possible that they did not report earnings to SSA ? Or did I leave retirement money there by error ?
First, you should consider whether perhaps the zero is correct. See https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/fedgovees.html

Quote:
Until 1984, employment by the federal government was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and not by Social Security. If you worked for a federal agency during those years, you did not pay Social Security tax on your earnings and those earnings are not shown on your record.

In 1984, a second retirement system—the Federal Employees Retirement System, or FERS—was introduced. People who began working for the Federal government in 1984 or later are covered by FERS instead of CSRS. Also, some workers who had been covered by the CSRS program chose to switch to the FERS program when it became available. Work under FERS is covered by Social Security.

If you stayed under the CSRS program after 1983, you still are not covered by Social Security.
Second, even if you think it is an error, you should assess whether it is significant enough to matter and chase down the information needed to correct the error. See https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf

Compute your SS benefit based on the earnings shown in your statement and then with your best estimate of your SS earnings for that year... it might not make any difference or only a minor difference... in which case you can ignore it.

Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
...
Second, even if you think it is an error, you should assess whether it is significant enough to matter and chase down the information needed to correct the error. See https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf

Compute your SS benefit based on the earnings shown in your statement and then with your best estimate of your SS earnings for that year... it might not make any difference or only a minor difference... in which case you can ignore it.

Good luck.
This is where I'm at. DW has a zero for one year, I tracked it down years ago, and there was a corrected W-2 issued that year, so I assume that is the cause. She keeps bugging me to get it fixed, but I think it makes such a small difference I can't get motivated to jump through hoops. I have the corrected W-2, I have scanned it and have electronic copies.

But she has worked more years now, and her SS is probably > 1/2 mine now, so it might make some difference. I figure I'll do it when we go to apply for her SS, that might be a good reason to go into the office and do it?

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Old 09-06-2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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Second, even if you think it is an error, you should assess whether it is significant enough to matter and chase down the information needed to correct the error. See https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf

Compute your SS benefit based on the earnings shown in your statement and then with your best estimate of your SS earnings for that year... it might not make any difference or only a minor difference... in which case you can ignore it.

Good luck.
Is there a spreadsheet version of that? I've done the online thing before, but that's kind of a pain. I'd rather have the numbers in front of me, like this does. I could build a sheet from the pdf, but it doesn't copy/paste well, takes a lot of tedious editing.

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Old 09-06-2019, 07:55 AM   #8
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I'm not aware of a spreadsheet version. I just built my own. I didn't take long.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:33 AM   #9
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Here is a spreadsheet that I have used. I have filled the earnings with random numbers, so you will need to replace them. The pdf show the copy and paste techniques to get data into it, and to do the sorting to get the top 35.


The cell designations may be off a bit, but should step you through it. On the spreadsheet, you can just type in the earnings rather than cut and paste and mess with the formatting and such. Just replace the random calculation with actual numbers.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Understanding your Social Security calculations.pdf (235.2 KB, 4 views)
File Type: xls example_SS_2.xls (43.0 KB, 7 views)
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:06 AM   #10
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I have a number of years of zero SS earnings because I worked overseas and didn't pay in. I even remember one year I paid SS taxes on my self-employment income, but the IRS paid it back to me because I was a foreign resident and my self-employed work was not in the USA.

This doesn't help the OP I guess, but maybe someone else has a similar situation for zero earnings reported to the SSA.
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