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Social Security Begins Issuing Annual Statements To 125 Million Workers

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September 30, 1999
For Immediate Release
Catherine Noe 202-358-6018
John Trollinger 410-965-8904

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Social Security Administration
News Release


Beginning October 1, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will launch the largest customized mailing ever undertaken by a Federal agency when it sends an annual Social Security Statement to 125 million workers. The 4-page statement is designed to help workers with financial planning by providing estimates of their retirement, disability and survivors' benefits. The statement will also provide workers an easy way to determine whether their earnings are accurately posted on their Social Security records. This is an important feature because Social Security benefits are based on an individual's career wage record.

"The Social Security Statement is a valuable tool that will help Americans prepare for their long-term financial security," Social Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel said. "It puts the future in their hands."

The annual Social Security Statement is the result of efforts by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to establish in law the requirement that all Americans receive an annual statement of potential Social Security benefits. By law, SSA will send the annual statements to workers who are ages 25 and older and not receiving Social Security benefits. SSA will stagger the mailing of the statements throughout the year, with approximately 500,000 statements delivered each day. Workers will automatically receive their statements about three months before their birth month.

The results of a recent survey, undertaken by the Gallup Organization, showed that receipt of a statement played a significant role in increasing Americans' understanding of Social Security. The survey showed that individuals who have received a Social Security Statement from SSA have a significantly greater understanding of Social Security than those who did not receive a statement. Those who have received a statement are significantly more likely to know that (1) the amount of Social Security benefits depends on how much they earned; (2) Social Security pays benefits to workers who become disabled; (3) Social Security provides benefits to dependents of workers who die; and (4) Social Security was designed only to provide part of total retirement income.

"The results clearly demonstrate that Social Security Statements are increasing the public's understanding of the basic features of Social Security," Commissioner Apfel said. "Knowledge is power, and all of us, young or old, male or female, single or with a family want the power to plan for our future."

SSA began sending the statements automatically to individuals age 60 and over in 1995. To date, nearly 73 million statements have been mailed to individuals 40 and older. In addition, individuals have been able to request statements from SSA since 1988. To date, SSA has responded to 37 million requests for statements over the past 12 years.

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS: A fact sheet giving details on the Social Security Statement is attached

Copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information and statistics, are available at SSA's Internet site, Social Security Online,

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