Vern Buchanan Wants Social Security to Get Back to Sending Annual Statements in the Mail

Last month U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Ct., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., brought back 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.

Back in 2019, Larson and Buchanan brought out 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 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 when the bill was first introduced

The AARP championed the legislation when first introduced, 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 also backed the bill when introduced, claiming the statements from SSA are “the single most important financial planning tool that most Americans will ever receive.”

“All workers deserve to have a full understanding of what they’re contributing to Social Security and what they can expect to receive. That’s why it’s vital we pass the Know Your Social Security Act to ensure every worker gets a Social Security Statement mailed to them,” said Larson who chairs the U.S. House Social Security Subcommittee.

“Too many hardworking Americans enter retirement without enough savings,” Buchanan said. “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 was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on which both the congressmen sit last week. So far, there have been no additional co-sponsors in the House but the bill cleared the committee two years ago. There is currently no version of the bill in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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