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Social Security Stops Mailing Annual Benefit Statements

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Social Security CardSeveral years ago, I was surprised to receive my first Social Security Estimated Benefits Statement. Now, three statements later, it turns out those mailers will no longer be going out in a cost cutting move (it costs around $70 million a year). Personally, I welcome the change because I’m all for reducing paper waste (which I see these reports as) but I don’t like how I can’t view my actual report online. The best you can do is use their estimator, but you need to enter in your information manually. Thumbs down to that.

The SSA announced that the change was going to start in April and since the reports are mailed out three months prior to your birth month, anyone born in July or later won’t get one this year. In fact, when the fiscal year resets, they are only planning on mailing the statements out to people aged 60 and older who haven’t started to receive benefits.

While some people see the mailers as a work of fiction, others use it as part of retirement planning and so I can understand why people are upset they can’t see actual numbers anywhere. I’m all for electronic records, I don’t need the piece of paper, but you can’t suspect paper reports without offering electronic access. It’s like a credit card company saying they are doing paperless statements but you can’t actually log on anywhere to view your statement.

(Photo: thehi)

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28 Responses to “Social Security Stops Mailing Annual Benefit Statements”

  1. cubiclegeoff says:

    I agree with you, I like not wasting paper, but I want to be able to see some record, especially to make sure there are no errors.

    • skylog says:

      agreed. i am all for non-paper statements, but to not see it at all seems like a mistake. that said, perhaps it is a little ironic, since i will probably not see a penny anyway.

  2. Strebkr says:

    The only issue will be the people who don’t have internet access or don’t know how to view it online.

    I say for $90m thats something I can live with. Maybe those people can call their local SS office to have them print one.

    • mannymacho says:

      Actually, the issue is for everyone, because it’s not available online at all!! It’s almost ridiculous to hear something like this in this day and age. I really hope we don’t have to resort to phoning the SS office and being put on hold for an hour – that would be an inconvenient nightmare.

      • Strebkr says:

        Manny – I have seen mine online. Last year I compared the paper statement to the online estimator and it was the same. The only thing missing was my record of earnings. I kind of wish that was online.

  3. billsnider says:

    I thought it was of great help to get the report. Sorry they stopped, but can understand the need to cut somewhere.

    Bill Snider

    • tbork84 says:

      I definitely agree that it is nice to see some cost cutting somewhere in the system. It would be still be nice if there was a way to at least view where your benefits stood rather than an online estimator. But its nice that they are being more realistic that your projected benefits are imaginary and not to be counted on.

  4. daenyll says:

    I fully agree with cost cutting, but I’d still like to see what’s going on, even if I’m unlikely to ever see a full payback on my benefits by the time my retirement rolls around.

  5. Matt K says:

    thinking of it in my geeky it perspective…they have all the code already written to keep track of people’s $. make it available online. i suppose security will be the biggest issue, but it’s not like they don’t have the framework in place already…

    • Strebkr says:

      There is nothing secure about mailing a folded over packet. I dont think security should be an issue here.

      • billsnider says:

        There is a saying that if you want to catch a small rat, you need a small trap (a paper mailing). But if you want to catch many large rats, you need a much bigger trap (electronic accessibility).

        Bill Snider

  6. No Debt MBA says:

    I agree that if they are eliminating the paper statements you should be able to access equivalent information online. However, I imagine setting up accounts for millions of tax payers to access their information securely would be an expensive and time consuming procedure (it is the Federal Government after all) that would save money in the long run but would cost more than mailing in the short term so they’re doing neither.

  7. freeby50 says:

    There is an online estimator :

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/begin-est/

    This is the detailed version. It verifies your name, address, SSN, mothers maiden name etc

  8. Wilma says:

    I really liked getting my statement. It gave me an idea where I was with what I paid in. Not being aloud to view it online bothers me. Maybe if enough people write to their state reps this could be changed. I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. Ryan says:

    How hard is it to call or go into an office once a year? Lots of whining going on.

    • claro says:

      Have you ever called the SS office? Then you’d understand why there’s “Lots of whinging going on”.

      • Strebkr says:

        I never have, but I hear the SS office is a large part about why people complain about terrible government service.

        • billsnider says:

          I have been to the SS office a few times for myself and a parent. It really was no big deal. I called and made an appointment. They were courtious and prompt.

          Where do you get your facts?

          Bill Snider

          • Strebkr says:

            My experience is going to get a replacement SS card about 8 years ago. No appointment so it took a little while. The person I dealt with was fine, but the office seemed a little unorganized.

      • Ryan says:

        So say the 30 years leading up to retirement how many times do you need to call or go into the SS office? 30. So no, I don’t understand.

  10. Weston says:

    I know that Social Security was required to provide such a statement upon written request. I presume this is still in effect. It’s just that they won’t mail it out automatically each year unrequested.

    Is that correct?

  11. zapeta says:

    I don’t really mind not getting a statement. I don’t feel like I’ll be getting a lot out of SS anyway. Not getting a statement will put the money out of sight and out of mind.

    • Strebkr says:

      Wouldn’t it be great if we could just opt out and take our 7.65 & our employers 7.65% right into a separate retirement account?

  12. govenar says:

    I don’t have a big problem with this, as long as there’s some way to still get the info for people who care (e.g., going into an office like some people mentioned). I thought it was kinda silly to get these statements when I won’t be able to actually get the money for over 30 years.

  13. Grant says:

    Agreed, maybe it’s a good thing people don’t get a SS statement in the mail so they can plan on retirement without factoring in SS. Best case scenario: SS is still solvent and they get some money out of it. Worst case scenario: what they initially planned for so hopefully Americans are prepared. Sadly, it seems that these grandiose programs with good intentions always seem to backfire in the long run.

  14. Lubomir says:

    How about this? You want your statement? OK. We’ll charge you $5
    Problem solved.

  15. C says:

    I agree the average american should be able to log in, view if choose so to print a copy for there records. Please allow this.

    Thank you


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