The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a press release on September 16, 2014 announcing that they would resume mailing Social Security statements. The Social Security statement provides workers age 18 and older with individualized information regarding their earnings, tax contributions to the Social Security programs, and estimates for future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. SSA had suspended mailing paper statements in 2011 citing budget constraints and the potential to save as much as $70 million annually by making the statements available online only. Succumbing to political pressure, in 2012 the agency resumes mailing statements to workers over 60 and a one-time mailing to individuals in the year they turn 25.
Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of SSA is quoted in the release as having “listened to our customers, advocate, and Congress” in arriving at the decision to resume the mailings. The statements won’t be sent to everyone on an annual basis as they were before the mailing of the paper statements ceased in 2011. Only workers who attain the age of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 and who are not registered for a “my Social Security” account (an on-line portal where workers can log-in to view their statement at any time) will be mailed a statement approximately 3 months before their birthday. Everyone over age 60 will receive a statement on an annual basis.
SSA has been trying to move many of their services online, in light of budget appropriations which have been well below what the agency requests to operate with on an annual basis. They have made the statements available to workers at any time at “my Social Security” and have made online applications for benefits available to the public. However, they receive significant pressure from Congress with regard to these efforts, with assertions that much of the population requiring the use of SSA’s services are still hesitant to receive these services online.