Social Security won't mail annual statements

Workers will have to use online tools to review annual tax and earnings records.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 31, 2011 3:33PM

This post comes from Mary Beth Franklin of partner site Kiplinger.

 

Blame it on federal budget woes and a general migration of information from printed to digital format. Starting in April, most U.S. workers will no longer receive their annual Social Security benefit estimates in the mail.

 

"In light of the current budget situation, we are suspending the mailing of the annual statements beginning in April," Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter tells Kiplinger's.

 

Congress has failed to agree on a budget for the current fiscal year, which means that most federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration, are operating at last year's spending levels. Lawmakers have approved a series of short-term spending extensions, but if they don't reach agreement on hotly contested budget issues, the federal government (excluding essential services) could shut down in mid AprilPost continues after video.

The annual Social Security benefit statement, which contains a summary of an individual's earnings history and estimated retirement benefits at various ages, generally arrives about three months before the worker's birth month. "So folks born in July will likely be the first ones who won't get the annual statement," Lassiter says. However, workers can still get an estimate of their projected retirement benefits based on their actual work history at www.ssa.gov/estimator.

 

Essential to retirement planning

The agency began mailing annual Social Security statements to 125 million workers age 25 and older in 1999, at an annual cost of about $70 million. Last year, it mailed statements to more than 158 million Americans. Over the past decade, the annual statement has become an essential part of personal financial planning, supplying critical information about future retirement income and serving as a stark reminder of the need for personal savings to supplement those benefits.

Lassiter says the Social Security Administration hopes to resume mailing annual statements next fall, but only to Americans age 60 and older who are not currently receiving benefits. "The long-term plan is to allow the public to access the statement online," he adds. "We're working hard, but we don't have a timetable yet."

 

The individual statements contain more information than is currently available from the online Social Security Estimator tool, such as annual earnings history and estimates of disability and survivor benefits.

 

The agency estimates it will save $30 million by suspending mailings for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in September, and will save an additional $60 million next year by restricting mailings to workers 60 and older.

 

More from Kiplinger and MSN Money:

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

82Comments
Apr 1, 2011 6:25AM
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They are doing this to save money?  You want to save money?  Cut benefits to people who never worked for a living.  I know of a person,  related to a coworker, who spent 14 years in prison for manslaughter.  He is now 52 years old and collecting SS benefits.  He is only one of probably hundreds of thousands.  They give SS benefits to anyone today.  Eventually, they will cut benefits to people who paid into it for 40 or 50 years and only give it to people who didn't.  The government couldn't run a McDonalds let alone SS or anything else. 
Apr 1, 2011 7:33AM
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They’re stopping statements today and tomorrow they’ll stop paying because they’ll be insolvent.

 

If you think it won’t happen you’re wrong.  The town of Prichard Alabama ran out of money in its pension fund and they stopped paying pensions to their retirees. 

Apr 1, 2011 1:40PM
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Many U.S. corporations are U.S. in name only.  They have moved their legal residence to China or some other country where the tax rates are nil or much lower than in the U.S.  Those corporations do not pay taxes on their profits until the money is brought into the U.S.  Guess where the money is not being brought.


Corporations like GE have picked up their computers and papers, registered as a corporation overseas, and avoid paying U.S. taxes.  Worse, many actually moved manufacturing to other countries (China, India, etc.) taking hundreds of thousands jobs out of the U.S.


Chinese say, "Thank you, U.S. government politicians for sending us jobs, factories, and your money.".

Apr 1, 2011 7:38AM
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Do not even mention felons and what not. 

What would you do if you were falsely convicted and now have a felony on your record?

You would be singing a different tune because now no one will hire you.

 

Do not point fingers and place blame until you have considered the full picture.

 

The problem with the government is....

Clinton administration balancing the budget for the year by pulling money from the Social Security Funds and never paying it back.  None of the money ever borrowed from the Social Security Fund has been paid back by the government.

 

Save money?

-Get rid of pensions for Senators and House of Representatives.

-Change pay raises in government to a vote of the people.  It is our tax money after all.

-Put a cap on campaign spending say....$100,000.  This will allow people that more represent you to run for election.

-Have government quit supporting starving people in other countries and start helping ours

-Have your local government start feeding the hungry and the poor instead of building a new building for their government workers.  How about educating them so they can pay it back by their salary taxes and sales taxes?

-Set a minimum number of hours driving in a driver's education course required by everyone.  This will save money in the government by reducing accidents (reduces repairs to the roads and barriers, makes roads safer, requires less of police force)

-Write letters to your governor about our police force and how little they do. 

-Write letters to your senators asking for change.  With enough people writing letters, they will have to promote your change or keep receiving millions of letters. 

 

Never believe that the world cannot be changed by one person, it is the only thing that ever has. 

 

 

These are

Apr 1, 2011 11:44AM
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Bad idea. With all the recent access and criminal activity with internet sites this could be bad. These tangible copies of our earnings is all we really have to argue our position if and when someone compromises the SS computer based information. Imagine trying to talk with these blood suckers and trying to help protect your position.

Ever try replacing lost or stolen savings bonds. That's another nightmare. Love the public sector.

Apr 1, 2011 11:46AM
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This is just a ploy to keep the people in the dark about what their benefits are. As SS begins its long downhill slide to insolvency, the government is trying to hide the information about what we are entitled to in an effort to minimze backlash. The leaders of this country should be ashamed for allowing this happen. Vote them all out. How we ever re-elcted Harry Reid and Rangel after their shenanigans the past couple years is a clear indication of how out of touch the voters are.    
Apr 1, 2011 12:04PM
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First they'll stop mailing the statement.

Then they'll start figuring out how to get the information online.

Pure genius...

Apr 1, 2011 3:23PM
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Cut-Spending on

  • FARM SUBSIDIES TO CORPORATIONS.
  • Cut subsidies to OIL-COMPANIES.
  • SLASH lawmakers salaries in half. 
  • Cut funding for health-care FOR LAWMAKERS
  • Cut funding for LAWMAKER'S RETIREMENT ( senators in the senate and congressman in the house ),          AFTER ALL THEY SHOULD BE IN THE SAME RULE AS EVERY CITIZEN.
  • Don't give away taxpayer money throughout tax benefit to EVADING-TAX COMPANIES ( like General Electric who got of $3.2 billion from our money ).
  • TAX EVERY TRANSACTION ON WALL-STREET . if I got taxed because I bought a chocolate bar and I got taxed for selling crap in amazon. They are buying and selling stock . Don't they ?
  • NO MORE NO-BID CONTRACTS WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
Apr 1, 2011 12:59PM
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In December of 2010 Obama paid for the extension of federal jobless benefits by reducing social security taxes from payroll withholding and increasing federal tax withholding.  Most people didn't notice, but I process payroll, so I did notice.  For the first time ever, to my knowledge, employers are paying more than the employees.  I've not heard a word about this in the news, but all of a sudden you're not hearing a word about how social security is not going to last.  Social security is being shorted by Billions of dollars before it even goes into the fund.  If you look this up it says that it won't affect the amount you get when you retire, but it will certainly affect how much is in the fund.  When they increase the retirement age to 80 and nobody lives that long, I think America is going to notice.  Obama is doing some very bad things to this country, and this change to Social Security had better be reversed, or this is going to come crashing down very quickly.  If Social Security was going to become insolvent in (let's say) 25 years, now it's going to become insolvent in (let's say) 15.  I'm making up these figures.  Why don't you write your Congressmen and ask them what the real figures are.  Wake up people.  You can't let them take Social Security and pay people to stay on unemployment for 10 or 15 years.  The jobs are just not there.  Maybe they never will be.  It's not a solution.  It only solved the problem until a new president gets elected and shoves it onto a new administration.   This cannot go on.  Social Security is our money, and it is being robbed from the people who are paying into it to pay unemployment to people who live in the rust belt whose jobs have gone to China and India.  I agree they need benefits, but that money Cannot come from Social Security or we' re all going to starve,  
Apr 1, 2011 4:08PM
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I think it is a good idea not to mail them to everyone every year.  My son is 25 and just got one.  While it is interesting to see what you made every year, it has no meaning for him because he is just starting out and will hopefully be making more money in the future.  As for the rest of us, I think you could be mailed one every 5 years until 55, and then every year, unless you opt to go paperless and look on-line, like so many other things offer.
Apr 1, 2011 9:43AM
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I really don't want to see my statement.  I just get very mad when I do the math and realize I will have to live to be 156 yrs. old to break even.  After they start means testing the benefits I will get nothing anyway.  Ever since LBJ lumped it in with the general budjet to pay for his great society SS is nothing more than another tax.
Apr 1, 2011 11:43AM
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But, if I have to go online now, it will be harder to find out how much money I won't really be getting. I really looked forward to that envelope each year. I always got a good belly laugh at the thought of the government paying me from the big Ponzi scheme that wasn't going to exist when I was ready to retire. 
Apr 1, 2011 1:00PM
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Maybe they are doing this to soften the blow before telling us that we won't be able to collect the money we have been contributing our entire lives because of entitlement programs implemented or perpetrated by every sitting president of the US.

Bail out the banks, bail out the homeowners, punish the responsible people.

Hey, I feel bad, I do, for those that lost THEIR homes...But the house flippers/speculators: get lost and get a real job.  I earn my money the hard way, by working.  Not off the backs of those that work hard. 

 

Apr 1, 2011 2:24PM
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Absolutely ridiculous!!  What is the real cost of sending out the SSA statements once or twice a year?  A drop in the bucket compared to the horrendous squandering/spending habits of the politicians in so many other areas.  They are pulling the plug on this important personal retirement information distribution for one reason only - THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE COMING TO YOU WHEN THE TIME COMES!!!  This will make it MUCH easier for them to lie to you about what THEY OWE YOU when you are ready to retire.
Apr 1, 2011 12:16PM
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I get and agree with everyone's sentiments...  I'm 35, and most likely will not see these benifits at all...  It burns in that I have in fact for the last few years, been paying the max to SS.  However, let's get into the electronic age.  Why the hell are we printing paper in 2011...  Our statement should be available for us to view, save, and/or print (if we choose) from the SS web.  What is the deal with the old paper.  30 million saved is good enough reason to do away with altogether paper and postage. 
Apr 1, 2011 12:37PM
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I don't really care about the statements coming annually, I found it ridiculous anyways since for years they have been telling us that SS will be bankrupt before I get there. I do have a problem with the number of people collecting benefits that have never paid into the system. I don't have a problem with the trully disabled collecting(someone who can not function at all) nor do I have a problem with survivors benefits to minor children who's parent passed and paid into it. I believe it was last year that there was a story about removing some disabilities from the list like ADHD and certain mental conditions...

Apr 1, 2011 1:19PM
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Just checked.  Everything is available on line.  No need to get your knickers all twisted.....

 

 

Why isn't everything on line, so we could access it any time we wanted?  I think this is just a ploy to get the people angry....perhaps government workers should not get mandatory raises, as we in the private sector experience.......

Apr 1, 2011 1:01PM
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Gee how many cruise missiles is that ...20 0r 30..  Didn't we waste those somewhere...oh ya we lost an F15 too!   Plus all the fuel that was used.  That's must close to 70 million bucks.     If any senator or congressman reads this...a buck is a dollar.
Apr 1, 2011 1:02PM
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Not sending statements is the first step in telling you you're not getting anything.  They thing that out of sight is out of mind. 

Apr 1, 2011 1:03PM
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If we each had to pay our 56 cent share of the cost I bet most people wouldn't bother, or maybe only get one every few years. Nice to see government cost cutting for a change. Being forced to cut costs works almost as well as providing government workers with real incentives to innovate, but it's a start. The long-term plan to move it all online actually makes sense.

 

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