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What Did You Earn At Your First Job? Social Security Can Tell You

July 8, 2021 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

What did you earn at your first job? Social Security can tell youEver wonder what you earned the year you worked your first job? Or perhaps any other year you worked? We can tell you. Your earnings history is a record of your progress toward your future Social Security benefits. We keep track of your earnings so we can pay you the benefits you’ve earned over your lifetime. This is why reviewing your Social Security earnings record is so important.

While it’s your employer’s responsibility to provide accurate earnings information to us, you should still review your earnings history and inform us of any errors or omissions. This is so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct. If an employer didn’t properly report even just one year of your earnings to us, your future benefit payments could be less than they should be. Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled. It’s important to identify and report errors as soon as possible. As time passes, you may no longer have easy access to past tax documents. Also, some employers may no longer exist or be able to provide past payroll information.

The easiest way to verify your earnings record is to set up or sign in to your personal my Social Security account. You should review each year of listed earnings carefully and confirm them using your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns. Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet.

You can find out how to correct your Social Security earnings record by reading our publication, How to Correct Your Social Security Earnings Record.

Let your friends and family know they can access important information like this any time on our website—and do much of their business with us online.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. John

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Paul M.

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  2. Polly

    In an ideal world, work should be not only a source of income, but also your hobby, your cherished goal, which you should regularly achieve. And tools like this can make the whole process easier and make it more enjoyable

  3. Alpha

    Very useful information for me, it helped me a lot, thanks a lot!

  4. Carlos M.

    Dios Les Bendiga.Queria hacer una Que podria pensarse si un empleado no tuvo beneficios por desempleo y antes de otro seguro con la respectiva regla de protocolo adjudicada en certificacón y en sus derechos civiles (capitulo 2 sección 16 constitución del E.L.A.) podria entenderse como una duda razonable? y a la falta de pago.

  5. Bill-J-A-2021

    This information is untrue as my first job was my lifetime favorite. After high school graduation and while working my way through college I worked at my city’s main library. I loved this job but my position transitioned to a civil service position and so I was terminated. Even so, this job, as well as those I had as a high school student, did not pay into the Social Security Administration program and thus that working history was lost.

    • Bill-J-A-2021

      Sorry, as I should have said: “This information is inaccurate.” My apology.

  6. Joann

    I can’t never get. To my account I can’t member my password and it won’t help me I just want my earning statements mailed

    • Jeff

      Write your password down and encrypt it.

      Example: your password is “Associate” write it down as
      “1Asso23cia45te6″… Just take the numbers out if
      you need to look it up.

    • Vonda

      Hi Joann, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to retrieve or change your username and password. We hope this helps!

  7. Gladys R.

    I am on SSA and get $1249.00 a month and everyone else in my neighborhood is getting from $1750.00 and amore like $2000.00 a month. I would like to know why I get such a low amount from SSA. Sometimes there isn’t enough to go around just not enough money. I only wish that they would start you off at $1500.00 a month.

    • Rybert J.

      Is there a base pay for disability

      • Jeff

        This is NOT a pay check!!!! It what you paid in throughout of your working years paying SS taxes.

    • Jeff

      It’s what you earned while you were working and paying SSA Taxes.

      This is your money you worked for throughout you life working. Not a give a way from the government.

      If you earned more and paid more SS taxes, you receive more in your monthly payments.

    • Vonda

      Hi Gladys, thanks for using our blog. Social Security benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years when you didn’t work, or had lower earnings, your benefit amount may be lower as a result. Check out our Understanding the Benefits publication for more details.

  8. Amy M.

    Should be more or a base pay.then money on it. More than what I’m getting everyone else is getting$ 25000 I’d like to get
    More than$850 . More like$1700-$1900.

    • Jeff

      This is NOT A GIFT!!! You paid a certain amount in while you were working…. This is what you are receiving now, what YOU PAID IN TO Social Security!!!

      The other people are receiving more because they paid more!

  9. V.L.Rice

    Problem with having an an online account for MySocialSecurity (MySSA) is the requirement to change passwords everytime you sneeze, basically getting locked out of your online Social Security Account and having to spend HOURS on hold waiting for help by calling the Social Security HelpDesk on the phone at: 1 (800) 772-1213

    • Jeff

      Write your password down and encrypt it.

      Example: your password is “Associate” write it down as
      “1Asso23cia45te6″… Just take the numbers out if
      you need to look it up.

    • bill

      I have had a MYSSA account for years and they have never made me change my password.

  10. MaryEllen H.

    My first job was free from McDonald’s and the rest was where I work sometimes luncheon. I didn’t have enough money because was taking care of 3 kids and now grand kids especially Special Needs granddaughter and she is a picky eater

    • Andrew V.

      Please help Mr Veselov Andrew Russia sity kazan 89600390022 contrakt job USA problem Russia Moskow No money of Russia please help money 60 years Ussr Russia No job No business No pension No job of Russia sity kazan 89600390022 No room Men 60 ears ussr Russia kazan 89600390022 bussines job details USA please help information job details USA big Mr Baiden No putin of Russia Moskow

    • Jeff

      Ms. Henderson,

      How old are you? I may be able to suggest help.

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