Retirement benefits estimate coming to a mailbox near you
New form will project Social Security payments
August 26, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Uncle Sam is about to give Americans a helping hand in planning their financial future.
Beginning October 1, the Social Security Administration will be required by law to begin mailing "Social Security Statements" to workers who are older than 25 but not yet receiving Social Security benefits. About 125 million Americans will receive their individual statements each year, about three months before their birthday.
"The new statements will have in them a person's earnings over their lifetime, from that very first job they ever had, all through their lives," said Social Security Commissioner Kenneth Apfel.
The four page statement will provide estimates of Social Security retirement, disability and survivor benefits you and your family could be eligible to receive now and in the future. The statements will allow workers to determine whether their earnings are accurately posted on their Social Security record and how to correct any inaccurate information.
The information sent by the administration will be estimates that can change if a worker earns more or less than projected in the coming years, or if changes are made in the Social Security system.
"We could have food and shelter," said Cox. "If you get into the health or long-term care, prescription medicine, it would be pretty tough."
Ed and Janice Micka, who are both in their 30s, are socking away money for their retirement. Social Security doesn't figure into their calculations.
"I don't want to count on something that is not guaranteed," said Ed Micka.
Janice Micka hopes the statements will shock people her age into facing the limitations of Social Security.
"You know, there are so many people out there that don't think ahead and are relying on it and it is going to be a big surprise when they see that A: It is not much, or B: It might not be there at all," she said.
The Social Security Statement is a revised version of the Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement that Social Security has made available on request since 1988.
That statement was so well received by the public that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) sponsored legislation requiring the agency to send a statement of earnings and benefits estimates each year to all workers 25 years and older who are not yet receiving benefits.
People with questions about Social Security can visit their local office, call the toll-free number (1-800-772- 1213) or visit the Social Security Website at: www.ssa.gov.
Transcript: Social Security Distributing Statements of Earnings
Social Security Online
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