TSCL Endorses Legislation That Would Help the Public Understand Social Security Benefits
By Rick Delaney, Chairman of the Board
People close to retirement sometimes tell us they don’t have a clue about how much they will receive in Social Security benefits. This is concerning, because knowing your Social Security income is the key to retirement planning. Without understanding how much to expect, it’s hard to plan how much money you need to save for retirement, or how long to stay in the work force and when to start benefits.
Getting information about your estimated benefits from the Social Security administration is often a chore. While all workers can access the information contained in the statements online at the My Social Security website, the online access has not been able to serve about 3 out of 5 people with My Social Security accounts. While we are not certain as to all the reasons behind this, anecdotal evidence suggests a lack of consistent access to computers or smart phones, and the internet are a major factor. The re-setting of forgotten passwords is sometimes a cumbersome process that has led to delays as new passwords have been sent to account holders by postal mail.
In the past, the Social Security Administration mailed out annual statements with estimated benefits before the birthday of every worker. But the mailing of those annual statements was suspended in 2011 as a cost-saving measure. Paper statements have been mailed on an irregular basis ever since. Today, the statements are only sent to people age 60 and older who are not getting benefits, and who don’t have an account on the Social Security website.
New bipartisan legislation in Congress “Know Your Social Security Act” (S.2989) introduced by Reps. John Larson, (D-CT) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) along with Senators Bill Cassidy, (R-LA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) aims to get the mailing of Social Security statements going again for all workers age 25 and up.
The Senior Citizens League lends its enthusiastic support to the “Know Your Social Security Act”. Every American who pays into Social Security has a right to see a written statement from Social Security to ensure that their record is accurate, and to learn the estimated amount of their benefits. A printed record also is important for those who do not have the means (financial or electronic) to routinely access their record online, and it serves as a critical planning tool for determining the best retirement dates. Regular receipt of these statements serves to remind and educate older workers of the benefits of staying in the workforce. Doing so strengthens retirement benefits, strengthens Social Security, and strengthens our national economy.
To stay informed about the status of legislation that you are interested in visit us at www.SeniorsLeague.org.