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Q: Mr. L writes: "I am getting very close to 62, but I'm not sure if I want to retire yet. For the last several years I have been receiving a statement from Social Security that told me how much I will draw at 62, but I haven't received my copy yet this year. Is there some other way I can find out how much social security I will receive if I retire at 62?"

A: Yes. You are always welcome to visit or call your local office or call Social Security's 800 number. However, one of the quickest and easiest ways to find out how much you will receive in retirement benefits is through use of one of our online resources. Our retirement estimator will allow you to enter different scenarios to come up with the retirement plan best for you. You can find the retirement estimator on our secure Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Q: Mrs. K writes: "I have received unsolicited calls from people claiming they work for Social Security and asking me to confirm the bank and account number where I have my check deposited. Does Social Security make these types of calls and how can I know the caller actually works for Social Security?"

A: Mrs. K, it is always best to confirm the identity of a caller prior to providing any information. It is not the practice of Social Security to make unsolicited calls to individuals to confirm direct deposit or other personal information. However, should there ever be a situation in which you find yourself uncertain, you always have the option of confirming the caller's identity by calling Social Security yourself to confirm the caller's identity prior to providing any personal information. This contact and confirmation can be completed through calling Social Security's 800 number listed in your local telephone directory, or by calling the local office in Chattanooga at 866-964-0029.

Q: Mr. P writes: "I've heard a lot of news stories about the average American worker and how much they earn, but I've never heard what the actual amount is. Do you know what the average earnings are?"

A: Mr. P, in 2007, the average annual wage was $40,405. In 2008 the average annual wage was estimated to have risen to $41,679; and in 2009 it was estimated to be $42,041.

Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from the Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor John Vass Jr., Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at jvass@timesfreepress.com.

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