In 2000, the Social Security Administration began mailing annual benefit statements to all workers age 25 and up. The benefit statements show the posted earnings history and the retirement and disability benefits available to the worker and his or her dependents. Individuals unable to continue working due to disability and individuals thinking of retiring could easily see their potential benefits. In 2011, in an effort to reduce costs, the SSA discontinued (suspended) its annual mailing of benefit statements . A secure website was designed, and through a major public relations campaign featuring famous actors, workers were encouraged to set up personal accounts and track their benefits online. Apparently many people found the web-based system too difficult to navigate, and eventually, in 2013, Congress mandated that the SSA return to the periodic mailing of the benefits statements.
The SSA has announced that beginning September 15, 2014, it will send workers a paper statement starting on the 25th birthday, every five years after that, and annually after age 60. Individuals still have the option of utilizing the on-line portal. You can read the SSA’s article on the history of its benefit statement program at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v74n2/v74n2p1.html
To estimate your retirement and disability benefits, look at http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/estimator.htm
As with all important documents such as bank statements, credit card records and income tax returns, it is a good idea to save these benefit statements for reference. All of these records may be needed if you embark on estate planning or applications for Medicaid and other benefits.
For advice and representation on elder care planning and Social Security Disability or SSI appeals, call 732-382-6070.