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How to Obtain a Client's Earnings History 01/12/2011

By Barbara Haubrich, ACP/CAS

A. Obtaining Your Client’s Earning’s History

Clients are not always the best historians when it comes to their employment or earnings
history. In fact, a party in a civil action in California must provide this information in response
to Form Interrogatory number 2.6, which asks for the responding party’s employment history for
five years prior to the incident. This information is also very important when there is a client
with a future loss of earnings and/or a loss of earning capacity claim. An economist and
vocational rehabilitation expert requires this information in order to form an accurate opinion
and calculate the loss. All forms mentioned in this article can be obtained from the Social
Security Administration’s website at: http://www.ssa.gov/online/

Procedure to Obtain a Client’s Employment and Earnings History:

1. Have the client complete and sign form SSA-7050-F4, Request For Social Security
Earnings Information.
2. In most circumstances, SSI charges a fee. The fees are outlined on Form SSA-
7050. Confirm the fee before sending in the form. Enclose a check or money order for
the entire fee required. Payment can also be made by credit card.
3. Mail to: Social Security Administration Division of Earnings Record Operations, P.O.
Box 33003, Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3003.

Another way to obtain a client’s earnings history is to have your client request his or her Social
Security Statement. Form SSA-7004, Request for Social Security Statement can be used to get a
record of a client’s Social Security Statement. Simply have your client fill out and sign Form
7004, and mail it to: Social Security Administration, Wilkes Barre Data Operations Center, P.O.
Box 7004, Wilkes Barre, PA 18767-7004.

B. Obtaining Social Security Lifetime Earnings History of a Decedent in a Wrongful


Death Case

There will be times in a wrongful death action when the heirs will be unable to obtain the
decedent’s earnings history. The decedent’s earnings history is important in order to support the
damages related to the death. One way to confirm the decedent’s income at the time of death is
to obtain a copy of the decedent’s employment records. But if the employment records do not
provide a consistent earnings history, it will be necessary to obtain a certified copy of the
decedent’s Social Security lifetime earnings history through the Social Security
Administration. A request for the lifetime earnings history of a deceased person can only be
requested if you are the legal representative of the estate, an heir, or an individual with a
financial interest who is an heir at law, next of kin, or beneficiary under the estate. Proof of an
appointment as the representative or proof of the relationship to the decedent, and proof of death,
must be included in the request.
Procedure to Obtain a Decedent’s Lifetime Earnings History:

1. Complete form SSA-7050-F4, Request for Social Security Earnings Information with the
information of the decedent.
2. Attach a copy of the Death Certificate of the decedent and the proof of the relationship to
the decedent of the client.
3. Attach the appropriate fee.
4. Mail to: Social Security Administration, Division of Earnings Record Operations, P.O.
Box 33003, Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3003.

Barbara Haubrich is an Advanced Certified Paralegal in Trial Practices and Wrongful Death. She is also a California Advanced
Specialist in Civil Litigation. Barbara is the creator and author of The California Litigator, a website that is designed to provide
resources and facilitate discussions relating to California state civil litigation. The California Litigator includes a bi-weekly e-zine
on all topics relating to civil litigation. Additionally, Barbara is the owner and creator of Deadline Direct, a downloadable
deadline calculating gadget for your Microsoft 7 or Vista computers. Deadline Direct is a handy tool that gives you all the
options you need in calculating deadlines and syncs a note field with the calculation to Microsoft Outlook as a task, calendar
event, or e-mail.

DISCLAIMER: Barbara Haubrich, ACP/CAS, is not an attorney. Any information derived from The California Litigator,
and any other statements contained herein, are for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal
advice or a recommendation on a legal matter. The information from The California Litigator is not guaranteed to be
correct, complete, or current. Barbara makes no warranty, express or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the
information provided within this newsletter, or to any other website to which this newsletter may be linked.