Many in New York look for their Social Security statements to learn how much they are likely to receive in benefits. Until this year, the Social Security Administration sent each recipient in the nation paper statements through the mail. Now the administration has changed all of the statements to electronic online versions.
The Social Security Administration has reported that the cost to print and mail the statements to workers is $70 million a year. This amount can be saved, they say, by no longer mailing the paper statements. However, some voice concern over the fact that a person must sign up and create an account in order to see their annual statement. Thus far a mere 130,000 people have created these accounts.
The change is a concern for those who live in rural areas, have lower incomes or are part of a less-educated household. These people, authorities suggest, are less likely to have access to the Internet. In fact, a recent report noted that 20 percent of adults do not use the Internet in our country.
While it's clear that moving statements to be solely online could help cut costs for an already struggling program, it seems electronic versions could make things increasingly difficult for some people who rely on Social Security disability benefits and other Social Security income. As concerns continue to surface over the new format of benefits statements, hopefully the Social Security Administration will be able to come up with a way to ensure that everyone who receives benefits is also able to access their statements easily.
Source: Reuters, "New online Social Security statements don't cut it," Mark Miller, May 10, 2012