Your earnings record should reflect whether you have paid enough tax credits to be covered by Social Security and will also determine the amount of the benefits you or your family receives when you become eligible. Typically, the more you have earned over thirty-five years, the greater the benefit you will receive when you reach full retirement age or are found disabled. Missing wages or misreported earnings by an employer could also impact whether you are found disabled, as the first step in a disability claim involves showing that you are no longer engaging in substantial work activity.
At times, an employer may have reported earnings incorrectly, or reported earnings using the wrong name or Social Security number. Someone may also be illegally assuming your identity. When filing a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, it is important to go over your earnings record carefully with a knowledgeable representative or attorney.
If you discover an error on your earnings report, you or your representative may file a Request for Correction of Earnings Record (Form SSA-7008). The form should be accompanied by proof of such earnings with a W-2 form, tax return, or pay stubs. Once the request is filed, Social Security Administration should work with you to correct the report. The process could take some time, as the administration may need to contact your employers for verification.
In many cases, the error is unintentional. However, if you suspect fraud or identity theft, you should contact the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at https://oig.ssa.gov/ to initiate an investigation. Depending on the severity of the fraud, you might seek assignment of a new Social Security number. You may also file a report with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and seek a recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://identitytheft.gov/.