DEAR ABBY: I recently received a Social Security statement of earnings, going back to the beginning of my work history in 1958. When I read it, I realized that one employer never reported my earnings during the four years I worked for him at two different companies. He told me it made no difference because Social Security uses only the last eight quarters to determine what would be available when I retire. Wrong!
I contacted Social Security and told them there was a mistake in my statement. (Luckily I had not thrown out any of my 1040s or W-2s.) They advised me how to correct the statement of earnings, and within two weeks I received a correction.
My advice to everyone who is employed: Save all your 1040s and W-2s, and check the statement you receive from Social Security to be certain all your income was reported. -- ANNETTE M. ZELKO, WEST CLARKSVILLE, N.Y.
DEAR ANNETTE: This year the Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun sending annual statements to workers age 25 and over who are not currently receiving benefits. These statements include the worker's Social Security-covered earnings history and estimates of future benefits.
Although there was a time when only certain work quarters were considered in determining benefits, the rules have changed, so it is important to be certain your statements are a true reflection of your earnings and the taxes withheld for Social Security. It's easier to correct errors when they are fresh and you have the forms to prove your earnings. For more information, call (800) 772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov.
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Pamela in Slidell, La.," who was upset about parents in her neighborhood allowing toddlers to play in the street, prompts me to write about my mother's experience with a young, supervised child -- me. When I was 4, we were going to the barber shop for my haircut. I was riding my tricycle; my mother was pushing my baby brother in a pram. We were on the sidewalk and came to a short driveway, when I thoughtlessly pedaled down it and straight into the path of a pickup truck. The elderly man who was driving couldn't stop in time. He hit me and both my legs were broken! The driver was devastated. I'm told he came to the hospital every day to see me. He told my parents he would never drive again.
The point being: Even SUPERVISED children can get hurt. A neighborhood street is never a place for small children to play. Too many things can go wrong. What happened to me occurred 54 years ago, when there were fewer vehicles on the roads, and even fewer teen-agers with their own cars racing up and down the streets. Those parents in Pamela's neighborhood would be sick and angry if one of those children were hurt -- even if it wasn't their fault.
I hope this letter isn't too long. I just had to comment. -- DOUGLAS M. PHILLIPS, FORT MYERS, FLA.
DEAR DOUGLAS: Too long? It's just the right length if it causes just one preoccupied parent to take a moment to see what his or her unsupervised child is doing.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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