Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On the phone with Social Security

I had to call the social security administration today because my earnings record was incorrect. (updated, I think it was correct, see below)

The IRS and the SSA don't talk too well, so I had to find all of my tax returns and report my income. They had incorrect values for my taxed earnings, I only noticed because I was calculating the income required to qualify for benefits and it was only 43600. Let me repeat that. 43600 over your lifetime of working gets you some sort of social security benefits. WOW.

Anyway. I have been on the phone for 35 minutes already. The lady on the end of the line does not know what she is doing it seems. She keeps putting me on hold. Its kind of sad, but this sort of thing can be done by a computer cheaper and faster. First, the IRS and the SSA should be able to share information, and know that it is wrong. Second, it was four numbers that I needed to tell them, which could be done with a web form. Authentication is the hard part, I guess?

In the end, I think that some of my income did not have to pay social security taxes and did not count toward my benefits. I of course, had to figure that out by finding an old W-2 from one of my employers that doesn't do the social security thing. Now I have to waste some time finding out if the IRS is ok with that or not.

Ok, thanks to Drexel University it turns out that some of my wages were exempt from FICA because I was enrolled at least 1/2 time at a university. (the wikipedia article also mentions it).

I wonder how many people actually read that earnings report and take the time to figure that out. Maybe normal people just read their W-2's or other statements more carefully and already know that they weren't paying social security/medicare taxes.

Now the real question, do I trust Drexel and wikipedia, or do I waste more time checking it out with the IRS?

1 comment:

SPAM said...

All of your earnings while at Georgia Tech (i.e. actually working for GT and getting a GT paycheck) are FICA-exempt and are not included on your Social Security Earnings Statement. Coincidentally, they also don't count as years toward retiring at Tech if you were to become a permanent employee after graduation.

Source: I once sat next to one of the GT finance people while I was making pottery and had a discussion on the matter.

Suggestion: If you need independent verification, talk to the GT Finance/HR office since they tend to be smarter and more accessible than the SSA.