Social Security Helps America Plan for Retirement
Today, the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution hosted an event with the Social Security Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, joined Richard Cordray, CFPB Director, to give keynote remarks about helping people plan for retirement. Social Security presented retirement planning tools available at
Social Security , a secure, online hub for doing business with the agency. More than 21 million people have created a personal online account.
Approximately 168 million workers pay toward Social Security coverage through taxes on their earnings—and almost 60 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. Around two-thirds, or 40 million of these beneficiaries, are retired workers or their dependents. However, many workers paying into Social Security know little about how the system works, or what they need to do on their own to be ready for retirement.
“We are so pleased to partner with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Brookings Institution to help Americans plan for retirement,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin. “Because we’re living longer, healthier lives, we can expect to spend more time in retirement than our parents and grandparents did. Creating a sound retirement plan is vitally important. Social Security provides secure online services for our customers—including the
Social Security suite of services, the Retirement Estimator, and the online retirement application.”
A panel discussion on efforts to improve retirement planning included guests Jonnelle Marte, financial reporter with
The Washington Post , Olivia S. Mitchell, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jean Setzfand, Senior Vice President of Programs at AARP.
To learn more about retirement planning tools available through
Social Security and to create an account, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount .
Law Does Not Provide for a Social Security Cost-of-Living
Adjustment for 2016
With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016.
The Social Security Act provides for an automatic increase in Social Security and SSI benefits if there is an increase in inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The period of consideration includes the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was made to the third quarter of the current year. As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015. Therefore, under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2016.
Other adjustments that would normally take effect based on changes in the national average wage index also will not take effect in January 2016. Since there is no COLA, the statute also prohibits a change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2016. The attached fact sheet provides more information on 2016 Social Security and SSI changes.
The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced Medicare premium changes for 2016. Should there be an increase in the Medicare Part B premium, the law contains a “hold harmless” provision that protects approximately 70 percent of Social Security beneficiaries from paying a higher Part B premium, in order to avoid reducing their net Social Security benefit. Those not protected include higher income beneficiaries subject to an income-adjusted Part B premium and beneficiaries newly entitled to Part B in 2016. In addition, beneficiaries who have their Medicare Part B premiums paid by state medical assistance programs will see no change in their Social Security benefit. The state will be required to pay any Medicare Part B premium increase.
Information about Medicare changes for 2016, when available, will be found at www.medicare.gov.
For additional information, please go to www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
Happy 80th Anniversary, Social Security!
Celebrating the Past and Building the Future
Today, the Social Security Administration proudly celebrates its 80th anniversary. On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, landmark legislation that continues to provide hope and protection to some of the most vulnerable members of society. Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin marked Social Security’s historic birthday by reaffirming the agency’s commitment to the public.
"As Social Security celebrates its 80th anniversary, we remain the underpinning of economic security of this country, and will continue to be a strong foundation for the next 80 years and beyond," Acting Commissioner Colvin said. "Social Security is the most successful domestic program in America’s history. Providing outstanding customer service to the public has been a cornerstone of our agency’s mission since the beginning and will continue into the future."
Earlier this year, Social Security launched a commemorative 80th anniversary website where people can learn more about the agency’s legacy and the importance of the Social Security program. The public has used the website, www.socialsecurity.gov/80thanniversary, to submit stories that show how Social Security has benefited them or their families. Social Security employees around the country have also expressed their enthusiasm and support through the agency’s "Why I Serve" campaign, which highlights employees telling their own stories illustrating why they enjoy giving back through public service.
Social Security will host a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Baltimore to commemorate the occasion. U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) will join Acting Commissioner Colvin and Social Security employees at the event. "I am deeply honored to have longtime friend and staunch Social Security supporter Elijah Cummings join us in celebrating our 80th birthday," Acting Commissioner Colvin said.
The agency is celebrating "America’s Favorites: Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & SSA" Night at Major and Minor League baseball games across the country.
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Social Security Board of Trustees: Trust Fund Reserve Gains One
Year for Projected Depletion Date
The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, one year later than projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2016, unchanged from last year’s estimate, with 81 percent of benefits still payable.
In the 2015 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
- The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2019. Beginning with 2020, the cost of the program is projected to exceed income.
- The projected point at which the combined trust fund reserves will become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, comes in 2034 – one year later than projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits.
- The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.68 percent of taxable payroll -- 0.20 percentage point smaller than in last year’s report.
"While the projected depletion date of the combined OASDI trust funds gained a year, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund's projected depletion year remains 2016. I agree with President Obama, we have to keep Social Security strong, protecting its future solvency. President Obama's FY 2016 budget proposes to address this near-term Disability Insurance Trust Fund's reserve depletion. By reallocating a portion of payroll taxes from Old Age Survivors to the Disability Trust Fund - as has been done many times in the past - would have no adverse effect on the solvency of the overall Social Security program," said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.
"We believe that Congress must take action to reallocate a portion of the payroll tax rate between the trust funds to avoid deep and abrupt cuts or delays in benefits for individuals with disabilities who paid into the system while they worked and now need the benefits they earned to support themselves and their families," Colvin said.
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
- Income including interest to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $884 billion in 2014. ($756 billion in net contributions, $30 billion from taxation of benefits, $98 billion in interest, and less than $1 billion in reimbursements from the General Fund of the Treasury—almost exclusively resulting from the 2012 payroll tax legislation)
- Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $859 billion in 2014.
- Non-interest income fell below program costs in 2010 for the first time since 1983. Program costs are projected to exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.
- The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $25 billion in 2014 to a total of $2.79 trillion.
- During 2014, an estimated 166 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
- Social Security paid benefits of $848 billion in calendar year 2014. There were about 59 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
- The cost of $6.1 billion to administer the program in 2014 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
- The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.6 percent in 2014.
The Board of Trustees comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustees are Charles P. Blahous, III and Robert D. Reischauer.
View the 2015 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2015/.
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Social Security Announces New Online Service for
Replacement Medicare Cards
Available to Recipients with a
Social Security Account
The Social Security Administration introduced the expansion of online services available through its
Social Security portal available at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that Medicare beneficiaries can now obtain a replacement card if they have lost, damaged, or simply need to replace it online using a
Social Security account.
"I’m excited about this newest online feature to the agency’s
Social Security portal and the added convenience we’re providing Medicare beneficiaries," Acting Commissioner Colvin said. "Any
Social Security account holder who misplaces their Medicare card will be able to request a replacement card using their online
Social Security account."
Requesting a replacement card through
Social Security account is a convenient, cost-effective and secure way to ensure Medicare beneficiaries have a critical piece of identification available when required by medical providers as proof of Medicare coverage. Simply access your online
Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and select the “Replacement Documents” tab. Then select “Mail my replacement Medicare card.” After you request a card, it will arrive in the mail in approximately 30 days.
Social Security is a secure, online hub for doing business with Social Security, and more than 19 million people have created a personal account. Current Social Security beneficiaries can manage their account—change an address, adjust direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, or request a replacement SSA-1099. Account holders still in the workforce can verify their earnings, and obtain estimates of future benefits. In addition to those existing services, Medicare beneficiaries will now be able to request a replacement Medicare card without waiting for a replacement form in the mail.
For more information about
Social Security or to establish an account visit
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Look Who’s Turning 80: Social Security Announces Countdown to Agency’s 80th Anniversary
80 Days to Social Security’s 80th
Anticipation fills the air as Social Security gets closer to the agency’s historic 80th anniversary and prepares to commemorate the August 14, 1935, signing of the Social Security Act. Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin today announced the launch of the agency’s event-filled celebration, with many activities leading up to August 14.
“Social Security offers hope and protection for millions of people and some of the most vulnerable members of the American public,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “This was President Franklin Roosevelt’s vision in 1935, and the vision has never been clearer, nor has the work of our agency ever been more important than it is today.”
Observing this important milestone would not be complete without the participation of the agency’s employees and the public. To engage the public, Social Security launched a commemorative 80th anniversary website, where they will learn more about the agency’s legacy and the importance of the Social Security program. The website, www.socialsecurity.gov/80thanniversary can be used by the public to submit stories that show how Social Security has benefited them or their families. Social Security employees around the country are expressing their enthusiasm and support through the agency’s “Why I Serve” campaign, which highlights employees telling their own stories illustrating why they enjoy giving back through public service.
The agency also has planned several additional events, such as celebrating “America’s Favorites: Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & SSA” Night that will include a ball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s and at other games around the country. Stay tuned to the 80th Anniversary website for information on exciting upcoming events as they are planned!
“As I reflect on our agency’s rich history, I am deeply honored to be a part of such a great organization with employees who truly embody the spirit of passionate public service,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in the lives of others, and with our collective commitment, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Happy 80th Anniversary, Social Security!”
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Noah and Emma Top Social Security’s List of
Most Popular Baby Names for 2014
Agency Adds to Its Family with New Blog
Emma and Noah are America’s most popular baby names for 2014. Emma returns to the top spot she held in 2008 and hangs out in first place with Noah. There are a few new names in the top 10 this year—James (a former #1 from the ‘40s and ‘50s) on the blue side and Charlotte on the pink side, her first time ever in the top 10. Makes you wonder if the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge got a sneak peek at the list, since naming their baby girl Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte (which lands at #10) Elizabeth (which fell from the top 10 to #14) Diana (#297) of Cambridge. Social Security has a new addition this year too, Social Security Matters, the agency’s newborn interactive blog located at http://blog.socialsecurity.gov.
Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2014:
|| 1.) Noah
|| 1.) Emma
|| 2.) Liam
|| 2.) Olivia
|| 3.) Mason
|| 3.) Sophia
|| 4.) Jacob
|| 4.) Isabella
|| 5.) William
|| 5.) Ava
|| 6.) Ethan
|| 6.) Mia
|| 7.) Michael
|| 7.) Emily
|| 8.) Alexander
|| 8.) Abigail
|| 9.) James
|| 9.) Madison
For all the top baby names of 2014, go to Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.
Social Security Matters, the agency’s new bundle of joy, launches as we celebrate 80 years of serving the American public, and is an addition to our communications family where people can find information on retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income, online services, and much more. It also is a place where the public can engage in conversations with the agency about what matters most. The blog encourages discussion and offers important solutions. Much like being a new parent, making benefit decisions can be overwhelming. The blog is the latest in a long line of tools Social Security offers to help educate the public about their benefits and how to access agency services.
The birth of a child is a special time for families. While having fun with the baby names list, Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin encourages everyone to visit the agency’s website and create a
my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov.
my Social Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits.
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries can have instant access to their benefit verification letter, payment history, and complete earnings record by establishing a
my Social Security account. Beneficiaries also can change their address, start or change direct deposit information, and print a replacement SSA-1099 online.
Individuals age 18 and older who are not receiving benefits can also sign up for a
my Social Security account to get their personalized online
Statement. The online
Statement provides workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement.
The agency began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating to back to 1880. At the time of a child’s birth, parents supply the name to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security card, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names.
Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Aranza and Bode.
Aranza jumped an amazing 3,625 spots on the girls’ side to number 607, from number 4,232 in 2013. The Latin soap opera “
Por siempre mi amor” was aired on Univision from 2013 to 2015. The show featured a young lead character named Aranza, and obviously had its effect on naming trends last year.
Bode raced ahead 645 spots, from number 1,428 in 2013 to number 783 in 2014. This might have had something to do with the Winter Olympics in early 2014, where Bode Miller continued his outstanding alpine skiing career by collecting his sixth Olympic medal. Not only is he the most successful male American alpine skier of all time, he is considered by many to be an American hero.
The second fastest riser for boys was Axl, a nod to both rock legend Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses and Axl Jack Duhamel, son of Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson and Josh Duhamel. For girls, Montserrat, the lead character in a very popular Latin soap opera, was number two, joined by another Monserrat (spelled just one letter differently) at number three.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov to view the entire list.
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Social Security Announces
Vision 2025, a Long-Range Service Delivery Vision
Ensures a Commitment to Local Field Office Presence Nationwide
Embarking on its 80th Anniversary of being a key piece of the Nation’s fabric, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today officially released
Vision 2025. The vision will serve as a “North Star” to guide Social Security and show how the agency will accomplish and deliver three key priorities: superior customer experience, exceptional employees, and an innovative organization over the next decade and beyond.
“We must be prepared to adapt as technology and society changes at an unprecedented rate,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “
Vision 2025 is our way of making sure we keep up with these changes, and how we position ourselves to best serve the public in the future.”
When employees, customers, and partners are given the right tools to help them work better together, wonderful things happen. In shaping
Vision 2025, Social Security reached out to as many individuals and organizations as possible for input. The agency engaged in active listening and communicating with internal and external stakeholders. Internally, the agency engaged employees, labor unions, and management associations. The agency encouraged and received feedback and ideas from the public through an online survey accessed on the agency’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov. The agency also worked with the National Academy of Public Administration, members of Congress, advocacy groups, and the Social Security Advisory Board. The input Social Security received resulted in “emerging themes” that led to the development of the three key priorities.
Vision 2025 reflects Social Security’s full commitment—now and in the future—to offering customers choices in how they do business with us. This commitment includes sustaining a field office structure that provides face-to-face service and is responsive to members of the public who need or prefer face-to-face service.
Vision 2025 represents the agency’s commitment to continuous long-term planning. It will guide our more than 65,000 employees who continue to provide exemplary service to our customers,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to customer service and continual efforts to improve efficiency. We are also excited about our vision for serving the public in the next 10 to 15 years.”
For more information, you can access the Social Security
Vision 2025 interactive website here:
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Social Security Announces New Online Service for
Available to Recipients with a
Social Security Account
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the agency is expanding the online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov. Social Security beneficiaries are now able to quickly and easily obtain a replacement SSA-1099 from the agency’s website with a
Social Security account.
"I am proud of our continued efforts to make it even easier for people to do business with us in a way that’s convenient for them, from the comfort of their home, office, or a library," Acting Commissioner Colvin said. "Beginning this tax season, any
Social Security account holder who misplaces their original SSA-1099 will be able to request an instant replacement from our menu of online services."
Social Security sends SSA-1099s each January to everyone who receives Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits paid in the previous year and is used for tax purposes. Previously, people who lost their SSA-1099 had to call or visit a Social Security office to get a replacement or request one be mailed to them. With this new online service, people now only need to create a
Social Security account, or log into their existing one. Once there, they can view and print their SSA-1099 or request to have a new one mailed to them—all online.
Social Security is a secure, online account people use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits. Once the account is created, it is used by people who are working to keep track of their earnings and to get estimates of future benefits. People already receiving benefits manage them with their account—changing their address, starting or changing direct deposit, getting a benefit verification letter, and more. In addition to those existing services, beneficiaries will now be able to immediately get their SSA-1099 replaced without needing to call or visit an office and often wait for a replacement form in the mail.
"Setting up a
Social Security account is quick, easy, and secure; plus it’s a great way to do business with Social Security," Acting Commissioner Colvin said. "That’s why more than 16 million people have already taken advantage of our award-winning online services and experienced the new features available with their own accounts."
In fact, a new
Social Security account is created every six seconds. For more information, please go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
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Social Security to Expand Field Office Hours Nationwide
Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 Allows Agency to Restore Some Service Hours
Social Security announces as a result of Congress’ approval of the fiscal year 2015 budget, the agency will expand its hours nationwide and offices will be open to the public for an additional hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, effective March 16, 2015. A field office that is usually open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. will remain open until 4:00 p.m. Offices will continue to close to the public at noon every Wednesday so employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs.
“This expansion of office hours reaffirms our commitment to providing the people we serve the option of top-notch, face-to-face assistance in field offices even as we work to expand online services for those who prefer that flexibility,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “The public expects and deserves world-class customer service and thanks to approved funding, I am pleased we will continue our tradition of exceptional service.”
In recent years, Social Security reduced public office hours due to congressional budget cuts, growing backlogs and staffing losses. The agency began recovery in fiscal year 2014 by replacing some field office staffing losses and providing overtime support to process critical work. With the commitment of resources in fiscal year 2015, the agency is able to restore some service hours to the public.
Most Social Security business does not require a visit to a local field office. Many services, including applying for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits, creating a my Social Security account, replacing a Medicare card, or reporting a change of address or telephone number are conveniently available anytime at www.socialsecurity.gov. Social Security also offers assistance via a toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (Voice) and 1-800-325-0778 (TTY). Representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
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