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Checking up on your social security

Do you know how much money you have contributed to the social security system? Because the amount you contribute over your working life affects what you get at retirement, it's a good idea to find out how much you have put in.

The Social Security Administration has a form for this purpose: SSA-7004 PC OP1. There are spaces for your name, social security number, date of birth, address, any other social security number you may have used, or any other name (such as a maiden name) you may have used, and your signature.

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If you cannot get a copy of the form, you can put all this information on a piece of paper and send it to the Social Security Administration, Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center, PO Box 20, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18703. The information is free.

Experts suggest you do this every three or four years, since the Social Security Administration can go back only a few years to correct mistakes.

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