On September 15, 2014 Social Security announced that it will resume mailing benefit statements to workers. The statements will be mailed periodically, with most workers receiving a statement every five years.
Their statement provides workers with information on their Social Security benefits including estimates of their future monthly retirement, disability, and survivor’s benefits. It contains estimates of their monthly retirement benefit payable at full retirement age, at age 70, and at age 62. It shows the worker’s earning history so that errors can be detected and corrected. For workers who are not fully insured for benefits, the statement displays the number of work credits earned to date, as well as the number of work credits required to qualify for monthly benefits and Medicare.
Social Security curtailed the use of paper statements in 2011 in an effort to cut back on costs. Since then the Agency has advised workers to track their benefits using its secured website online, “My Social Security.” Although fourteen million people have set up accounts using the “My Social Security” online service, this number represents only approximately 12% of the estimated 165 million workers covered under Social Security.
Last year Congress passed a bill requiring Social Security to reestablish the practice of mailing paper statements to workers.
In the future Social Security will mail most workers a statement every five years beginning at age 25. Statements will be mailed about three months before the worker’s birthday. However, workers who sign up for the “My Social Security” online service account will not receive statements in the mail. (After the age of 60, all workers who are not already receiving benefits will receive a paper statement in the mail each year.)
While the return of paper statements may be welcomed by workers, the Agency continues to encourage everyone to create an account online. An account can be set up at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. The Agency notes that the benefits of the online account include immediate access at anytime to printable statements, a list of the Agency’s records of your lifetime earnings to date, estimation tools for retirement options, and management of benefit payments.
The Social Security statement is a key tool in helping workers plan for their financial future. Whether a statement is received by mail or accessed online, it is important to review the statement for accuracy. Additionally, when to start taking Social Security Retirement benefits is a significant decision. For more information on claiming Social Security Retirement benefits, please see: http://www.paelderlaw.com/avoid-this-mistake-taking-social-security-too-soon/.
For more information:
Social Security’s September 16, 2014 press release at: http://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases.html/post/9-2014-1
Social Security Basic Facts at: