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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. Johny

    Almost like in Orwell’s “1984”… Big Brother is watching you…
    Well, if your current employer has all the information about your previous work that’s not an end of the world, especially if you are sharing your working experience in your CV and social media. However, there may be working experience you wouldn’t like to showcase or, for instance, if can your side-job of, say, a real estate agent or a mortgage broker. Or something else. So, basically the choice what to show to your employer and what should be kept secret must be an inalienable right of every person.

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  3. kathi

    please address the process for getting a detailed earnings statement. I have had a very unsatisfactory experience requesting this. I have submitted form twice. first time it took one year to tell me it was the old form. I have now been waiting 4 months since resubmitting on the new form and I cant get even an acknowledgement that it was received.

    • Patty

      Hi Kathi, thanks for using our blog. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing.  Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to get a detailed earnings statement that includes your employers. If you submitted the proper form and it has been over 120 days, you can call to follow-up at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and a representative will assist you.  We hope this helps!

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