Consumers for Paper Options (CPO) Launches Effort to Secure Paper Options for Essential Government Information

Citing GAO Testimony, CPO Urges Social Security Administration to Restore Annual Earnings Statement

Aug 02, 2011, 12:30 ET from Consumers for Paper Options

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Consumers for Paper Options (CPO), has formally launched an effort to urge Congress to preserve access to government information for all Americans, regardless of their ability to access or utilize digital technology.  

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"It is a crucial priority for millions of Americans to have access to paper options regarding their social security checks, social security annual earnings statements, and tax forms," said CPO Executive Director, John Runyan.  "With over 31% of American households (almost 1 in 3) without access to the internet, the government cannot simply shut off the flow of paper-based information regarding critical programs," Runyan added.

CPO's goal is not to hinder the natural evolution of technology but to prevent discrimination against those who may not have access to or cannot use technology.  "Getting this policy right would achieve important efficiency improvements without shifting extra cost burdens to the consumers who can least afford them," said Runyan.  

Today, the CPO delivered a statement to the House Social Security Subcommittee urging the Subcommittee's assistance in reinstating the annual Social Security earnings statement.   The Social Security Administration announced in April it would end the mailing of the annual earnings statement for all workers over age 25.  An online tool allowing citizens to estimate their eventual retirement pay is available, but doesn't fully replace the detailed earnings history that was included in the annual earnings statement.

A July 2011 study by the GAO concluded that the statement is a critical financial literacy tool that should continue to be provided to all workers, including those without internet access.

Beyond the earnings statement issue, CPO urges Congress to reinstate the mailing of annual tax forms to those who still file by mail and continue to provide paper Social Security checks to those who do not want to be forced into using an electronic debit card or mandatory direct deposit.  The impact of these policies on our non-internet using citizens must be more carefully examined before sweeping changes are implemented in the future.

Consumers for Paper Options is a group of individuals and organizations who believe paper-based communications are critically important for millions of Americans, especially those who are not yet part of the online community.

www.paperoptions.org

SOURCE Consumers for Paper Options



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