Social Security Advisory Board Recommends Improvements to Annual Social Security Statements

Aug 28, 2009, 13:25 ET from Social Security Advisory Board

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Social Security Advisory Board released a report today recommending improvements to the Social Security Statement mailed each year to nearly 150 million American workers.

The report, The Social Security Statement: How It Can Be Improved (, examines the Statement's role in increasing public understanding of Social Security programs and educating workers about their options for retirement and benefit claiming. At a time when most Americans over age 60 have made definite retirement plans, the Advisory Board reports that "many still show a limited knowledge of the basic Social Security facts needed to make informed decisions."

The Advisory Board notes that a number of aspects related to the information contained in the Statement and how well it is understood must be improved. The report cites a recent survey that reveals only about two-thirds of the people who get the Statement remember receiving it and only about two-thirds of those people report reading it.

For this report, the Advisory Board did an in-depth study of one of the most important features of the Statement: the projections that provide individuals an estimate of the benefit amount they will receive from various Social Security programs. The Board concluded that the projected benefits provided are reasonably accurate, although they are more accurate for older workers than younger ones, for men than women, and for workers with higher incomes than lower incomes. Based on the study, the report recommends that SSA consider ways to improve the benefit projections for people at all ages, genders, and income levels and to explore options for tailoring the Statement to the needs of certain groups of workers.

The Advisory Board's purpose in developing this report is to encourage SSA to re-examine all aspects of the Statement and make some much needed improvements.

Congress created the independent, bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board to advise the President, the Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. Appointments to the Board are made by the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President pro tempore of the Senate.

SOURCE Social Security Advisory Board