Social Security Is Mailing Statements to Fewer Workers. Here’s Why That’s a Problem

The twins Social Security cards arrived today...
Image: Russell Harrison Photography via Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/7M47u1

Workers who receive Social Security benefits statements by mail are less likely to claim benefits early, which can make for a more secure retirement, new research suggests. That’s too bad for many workers, since the Social Security Administration in January announced a sharp cutback in its mailings, citing budgetary pressure.

The new research is by Barbara Smith, a senior economist at Social Security’s Office of Retirement, and Kenneth Couch, a professor at the University of Connecticut. The mailed statements “had a significant effect on claiming behavior,” they say in an abstract of a forthcoming article they plan to discuss at a George Washington University seminar on Thursday. “Our results, although preliminary, suggest that the provision of information might be an effective tool for policymakers interested in encouraging retirement security by having workers delay claiming Social Security benefits and work longer,” they write.

More (Time Magazine) »

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