Remember those annual earnings and benefits statements that fell victim to Social Security Administration cost-cutting earlier this year?
Turns out that agency plans to make the legally required statements available via the Internet–it just doesn’t know when, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Under the Social Security Administration’s game plan, all eligible participants could access their records online, while people aged 60 and older who have not started claiming benefits would also get the mailed statements, GAO Managing Director Babara Bovbjerg told a House Ways and Means subcommittee in prepared testimony this month. At best, SSA officials expect that to happen early next year, but they don’t have an exact timetable, Bovbjerg said.
Given the inevitable privacy concerns, officials are developing an electronic authentication system and a “My SocialSecurity” Web page to let folks view the information securely.
SSA’s decision this March to stop mailing the statements to tens of millions of Americans has so far been one of the more tangible effects of the federal budget squeeze. While the move is supposed to save $30 million this fiscal year, “total costs for resuming provision of the statement are unknown,” Bovbjerg said.