WASHINGTON – At today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) commended Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Michael Astrue for establishing secure web site access to annual earnings statements so that all Americans “can now have full access to information regarding their Social Security benefits.” The Senator also commended the Commissioner on SSA’s resumption of mailing annual statements to all individuals over age 60.
Last year, the SSA suspended production and mailing of annual earnings statements, citing budget constraints. In June 2011, Senator Cardin wrote to Commissioner Astrue urging SSA to continue providing Americans with a complete and accurate statement regarding their earnings and projected Social Security benefits, as required by law.
“The annual earnings statement is an invaluable tool to help Americans plan for their retirement,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy Subcommittee. “Commissioner Astrue has taken steps to ensure that these statements are available to all Americans by placing this information online so individuals can check the accuracy of their earnings record and have a better understanding of their Social Security benefits.”
In 1999, Congress passed legislation requiring the distribution of earnings statements to ensure that Americans have accurate information regarding their Social Security benefits. In an effort to save money, last year the SSA suspended mailing of statements to workers over age 25 every year.
At that time, SSA announced that workers could view their retirement benefits online using SSA’s retirement estimator tool, but it would not include all the information available in the written statement, such as estimates of disability and survivor’s benefits or a complete earnings record.
“I am extremely pleased that the SSA has done the right thing for American workers and guaranteed them secure access to a complete record of their earnings so they can plan for their retirement, as Congress intended.”