One day in 1939, Ida May Fuller stopped by the local Social Security office in her hometown of Rutland, Vt., to inquire about Social Security benefits. She knew she had been paying into Social Security and wanted to learn more. The following year, she received the very first Social Security benefit payment — $22.54 — arriving as check number 00-000-001. Ida’s story still holds lessons for women today — and it started with her getting the information she needed.
Today, signing up for a personal My Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount can help women get information tailored for them to plan for their retirement. It’s never too late to start planning. Ida was 65 years old when she started receiving benefit payments, but she lived well beyond her life expectancy of 65 years, 4 months. In fact, Ida lived to be 100 years old, and received Social Security benefit payments for 35 years.
It’s important to create a personal My Social Security account as soon as possible. With an account, estimates of future benefits, verified earnings and estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes paid can be viewed. Verifying earnings is important because future benefits are based on earnings history.
Social Security benefit payments will provide only a portion of pre-retirement income. Many will save more to have adequate income for their desired lifestyle in retirement.
Savings need to be an active part of a plan to take care of yourself and your family’s financial future. Ida never married. She supported herself.
However, many may find themselves widowed or divorced — and having to provide for themselves for several more years. Unlike in Ida’s day, women can go online to see if they are eligible at www.ssa.gov/retirement to receive a current, deceased or former spouse’s benefits.
Social Security encourages women to follow Ida’s example and plan for their financial future.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Security field offices could not receive visitors except for previously arranged appointments on special limited critical situations. However, they continue providing services by phone and internet.
For more information on Social Security benefits and services, visit www.socialsecurity.gov, access the automated services at 1-800-772-1213 or call the local Social Security office Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To locate the telephone number of your local field office, input your residential ZIP code at www.ssa.gov/locator.