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Social Security Annual Statements

April 3, 2014

(Reuters) – If you want to understand the fight over Social Security’s future, look no further than your annual benefit statement – if you can find one.

The Social Security Administration stopped mailing annual statements in 2011 in a budget-cutting move that saves $70 million annually. The SSA rolled out an online statement the following year, but only 10 million American wage earners have signed up. That’s a paltry 6 percent of all workers.

The shift may not sound like a big deal given that so much of our personal finances has moved online, but the paper statement was an important annual reminder and education tool. The weak uptake for online services means young people who aren’t yet focused on retirement no longer get an explanation of where their payroll taxes are going. And older people close to retirement aren’t getting a critical projection of what they will receive at various claiming ages.

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