Social Security Administration Stops Sending Paper Statements

Social Security Administration Stops Sending Paper Statements
For budget reasons, the SSA stopped sending benefit statements in April. This change is anticipated to save $30 million in fiscal year 2011 and $60 million in fiscal year 2012, which begins October 2011.
Just over 10 years ago, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing out annual statements of expected Social Security benefits.  You probably remember receiving the black, white, and green statements right before your birthday.  With the statements, you can verify your projected benefit and confirm that your contributions and earnings record were recorded correctly.

According to the SSA, they’re working on making an electronic version of the benefit statement available, but no estimated date has been announced.

In the meantime, the SSA’s Retirement Benefits Calculator is available online now, and shows your retirement benefit estimates at age 62, at your full retirement age, and at age 70.  Amounts shown in the calculator are based on your prior and anticipated future work earnings amounts. Using the calculator, you can also build scenarios where you estimate your benefit based on different future earnings amounts and “stop work” ages – something you couldn’t do with the old paper statements!

To use the Retirement Benefit calculator, click here to link to the SSA Retirement Benefit calculator.  Review the information on the page about who can use the Retirement Benefit Estimator; look at the right for the big red button that says “Estimate Your Retirement Benefits” (big red button on the right) and click on it.  Next you’ll be directed through a privacy statement and then you’ll need to enter personal identifying information.  Enter last year’s income on the next screen, and you’ll get the familiar benefits at age 62, 70, and your full retirement age.  Once you’ve seen your basic benefits, you can move on to create alternative scenarios.

However, you can’t verify online that the SSA has captured your correct earnings credits.  Until an alternative earnings record is available, make sure you save your final annual pay stub or, if self-employed, your tax return showing your self employment tax amounts until you’re able to once again verify these amounts.