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 October 8, 1999

Social Security gives report on your future

Beginning Oct. 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 four-page statement is designed to help workers with financial planning by providing estimates of their retirement, disability and survivors= benefits. The statement also will 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 annual Social Security statement is the result of efforts by Sen. 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. The mailing of the statements will be staggered throughout the year, with approximately 500,000 statements delivered each day. You can expect to receive your statement each year about three months before your birth month. If you=re married, your spouse will receive a statement based on his/her birth month.

Social Security was designed to be a foundation of financial protection to be supplemented by pensions and savings. The four-page statement will give you an estimate of your monthly benefit when you retire, which will help you gauge how much savings you will need to live comfortably.

What many Americans do not know is that Social Security is more than just a retirement program, it is America=s family protection plan. One out of every three Social Security beneficiaries is a disabled worker, a disabled worker=s family member or a survivor of a worker who has died. It can be a frightening statistic, but almost three in 10 of today=s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67 and one in six of us will likely die before reaching age 67.

Social Security provides disability coverage for you and your family equivalent to about $300,000 disability policy and survivors protection equivalent to more than $300,000 life insurance policy. The Social Security statement gives an estimate of the monthly Social Security benefit you and your family could expect to receive now should you become disabled or die.

Another important feature of the Social Security Statement is that it gives you an easy way to determine whether the earnings sent to SSA by your employer have been accurately recorded. The amount of your future benefit payment will be based on your Social Security earnings record so you should check your statement each year while you have easy access to employment records. The statement will tell you how to go about correcting any inaccuracies that might appear in your posted earnings.

When you receive your Social Security Statement, I urge you to take the time to read it and use the information contained in it to update or begin your long-range financial planning. While Social Security can=t predict the future, we can put a small piece of the future in your hands; a planning tool that can be used to ensure financial stability for you and your family.

The Social Security program has changed in the past to meet the demands of the times and must do so again. We are working to resolve long-range financial issues to make sure Social Security will provide a foundation of protection for future generations as it has done in the past.

Kenneth S. Apfel is commissioner of the Social Security Administration. For information about Social Security benefits, call or visit your local Social Security office, call Social Security=s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or visit Social Security=s Web site at www.ssa.gov.

Beginning Oct. 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 four-page statement is designed to help workers with financial planning by providing estimates of their retirement, disability and survivors= benefits. The statement also will 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 annual Social Security statement is the result…

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