Although the Social Security Administration is giving their social security statements a facelift, they are doing it quietly. Thus far, only selected accounts have received the new benefits statement.
The good news is that the forms, rolled out May 1, are simpler than the previous version. Instead of four pages, they are now only two pages in length. Agency spokesperson, Darren Lutz, said that the revised form, “… aims to streamline and clarify the messaging and make it easier to find key information at a glance.”
The new form uses a bar chart to show visually the estimated monthly benefits a recipient will receive if the recipient starts drawing benefits in any year from age 62 to age 70. Previously, the chart only showed what the beneficiary would receive when applying for benefits at age 62, 67, or 70.
The launch of the new form has, thus far, been made without official notice from the agency and is happening in stages, so most people have not yet received the updated version.
The Importance of Clear Communication Regarding Social Security Statements
In April, PlanAdviser.com published findings from a quiz administered by MassMutual about Social Security benefits. Although the quiz contained only 12 questions, just 3 percent of those taking the test were able to answer all the questions correctly. Most concerning was the fact that 26% of quiz takers between the ages of 60 and 65 could even identify their own correct full retirement age.
The Little-Known Social Security Mulligan
While studies, such as the quiz from MassMutual show that most people do understand that the earlier you apply for social security the lower your monthly benefit will be, however, most people don’t realize that the Social Security Administration offers them a one-time do-over. Persons who claim their benefits at a younger age, say 62 or 64, but then wish they had waited, can actually undo their decision as long as they do so within the first 12 months of claiming social security benefits.
Although the do-over requires that the recipient pay back all benefits received, once this is done and the appropriate paperwork (SSA-521) is filed and processed, the recipient is then set to restart benefits at a later date and the appropriate higher amount. Learn more at Withdrawing Your Social Security Retirement Application
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature. You should seek specific advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein.
Securities offered through Lion Street Financial, LLC (LSF) and Valmark Securities, Inc. (VSI), each a member of FINRA and SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through CapAcuity, LLC; Lion Street Advisors, LLC (LSF) and Valmark Advisers, Inc. (VAI), each an SEC registered investment advisor. Please refer to your investment advisory agreement and the Form ADV disclosures provided to you for more information. VAI/VSI, LSF and CapAcuity, LLC. are non-affiliated entities and separate entities from OneDigital and Fulcrum Partners.
Unless otherwise noted, VAI/VSI, LSF are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any other company, agency or government agency identified or referenced in this document.