Social Security suspends annual statements to save money

It was like a reminder each year for workers over the age of 25 that they had a birthday coming up.

Three months before every birthday, the Social Security Administration sent out a statement on what workers can expect if they take benefits at 62, full retirement age or 70.

When Social Security first started sending those to workers, it was a wakeup call for many who expected Social Security would provide a bigger nest egg. Not sure it succeeded on getting more people to save more, but it certainly spelled out the advantages of working longer or at least waiting as long as possible to take benefits.

But with a ever-tightening budget, the agency says it has suspended those statements that cost about $70 million annually to send out. In the last fiscal year, Social Security sent out 152 million statements.

Michael Astrue, Social Security’s commissioner, told a Senate committee last month that workers thinking about retirement can get information on benefits online using the agency’s retirement estimator. Field offices may also provide the information.

Astrue told the committee that the agency may once again send out statements but only to those age 60 and up. Younger workers may be able to get a statement upon request, he said. The agency also aims to make statements available online at some point.


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