Last week, U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Ct., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., brought out a bill allowing Americans to get more information about their Social Security accounts and they have moved quickly on it, getting it through a key committee.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, on which Buchanan sits, passed the “Know Your Social Security Act,” which, according to the Florida Republican’s office “helps Americans plan for retirement by making it easier to access critical information about their Social Security earnings, contributions and future benefits.” The bill now heads to the House floor.
Larson sits on the Ways and Means Committee and leads its Social Security Subcommittee. He weighed in on the bill on Wednesday.
“Social Security is our nation’s foundation to a solid retirement. Americans who contribute to Social Security should receive an update every year so they know what benefits they are earning and can plan for their retirements. No matter what happens in the stock market, Social Security will always be there for them,” Larson said.
“Too many hardworking Americans enter retirement without enough savings,” Buchanan said after getting the bill through the committee. “Because Social Security is the primary source of income for a majority of seniors, it is imperative they have a full understanding of their benefits as they plan for retirement.”
The bill would have the Social Security Administration (SSA) resume send out by mail “annual earnings statements to the 178 million Americans workers — between the ages of 25 and 60 years old — currently paying into Social Security, making it easier for them to keep track of their finances and plan accordingly.” Most Americans stopped getting annual statements from the SSA back in 2010. The statements will include “how much a worker has earned in a given year, a worker’s contributions to both Social Security and Medicare, ann estimate of the worker’s Social Security benefit at full retirement age” and the “Social Security benefit a worker’s family receives when they pass away.”
“While the SSA is supposed to be mailing these statements to nearly 180 million Americans, it is only mailing them to the 14.6 million aged 60 and older not currently receiving benefits. Instead, SSA has urged the remainder of that population to access their information through the creation of an online portal, but unfortunately is only being utilized by a mere 16.7 million people. According to Pew Research Center, a staggering 33 million Americans are still living without internet access and many are concerned about sharing sensitive information, such as their social security number online,” Buchanan’s office noted.
The AARP is behind it legislation, insisting it “would once again place vital, paper Social Security statements in the hands of millions of Americans, to help them more effectively plan for retirement, identify fraud and correct earnings records, and better understand their stake in Social Security.”
The Coalition for Paper Options is also behind the bill, claiming the statements from SSA are “the single most important financial planning tool that most Americans will ever receive.”
More than 10 other members of the House have joined Buchanan as cosponsors including U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., who also sits on the Ways and Means Committee. While the bill now heads to the House floor, so far there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.