The SSA announced that workers can get an estimate of their retirement benefits online using SSA’s retirement estimator tool. However, in his letter to Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, Cardin said the estimator does not provide comprehensive information, as it omits a worker’s lifetime earnings and estimated disability and survivor benefits.
“Since 1999, the Social Security Annual Earnings Statement has given Americans an indispensable retirement tool to ensure that every worker has an in-depth knowledge of where their hard-earned money is being saved. The statement also ensures that Americans can verify that their earnings have been reported accurately, and it provides a check against clerical errors. The agency’s expenditure represents a small cost for a large and tangible benefit,” Cardin wrote.
“An Annual Earnings Statement that includes lifetime earnings information tells workers how much money they have put into the Social Security system and allows them to plan for the amount of benefits that they will receive. This is essential to constructing a well-planned retirement,” he added.
Cardin also contended that the distribution of Annual Earnings Statements is required by statute, in sections 1143(c)(1) and (2) of the Social Security Act. “Congressional intent was to ensure that Americans have available an accurate and updated record for their own financial planning,” he wrote.