SSA reconsiders sending out annual or interim statements

Payday is arguably a good day for anyone. For many people in this era, it means signing into an online bank account every other Friday to make sure that a direct deposit paycheck made it safely into the account. When first starting out, it is probably hard for young individuals to see that the actual deposit amount is less than their technical wage.

Part of earning an income in the United States means paying taxes. Although withholding payroll tax might not be fun, it can prove very beneficial down the road should the worker become disabled in any way. Individuals clearly see the exact amount going out each pay period, but when was the last time that you saw an accounting statement from the Social Security Administration?

In 2011, the SSA ended its practice of sending out annual statements on paper. This action saved the agency $70 million in one year alone. The decision was made after several years of receiving less-than-requested funding for administrative costs. The agency did offer an online statement program, but only 6 percent of working Americans signed up.

Although the move to eliminate statements saved money, disability advocacy groups say losing them isn’t good for young workers, those nearing retirement age or anyone that may have to utilize these benefits for disability purposes. These few categories pretty much include every worker in the country.

With the expectation of an increased budget, the SSA has discussed reintroducing accounting statements, whether on an annual or an interim basis. Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said that the agency is specifically discussing sending out a statement at the age of 25 or at 60 and above. Also included in the plan is raising awareness about “My Social Security” accounts accessible online.

Any mistake or missing medical documentation could delay an individual’s application for disability benefits or play a role in the ultimate denial of the claim itself. These budgetary and staffing issues only make a delayed or denied application more frustrating. To ensure that the Social Security disability benefits claims process goes as smooth as possible, applicants should consult a Knoxville SSD attorney for assistance.

Source: Reuters, “The other Social Security battle: the squeeze on customer service,” Mark Miller, March 20, 2014