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Social Security changes its mind

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Friday, July 18, 2014
Posted: 11 am ET

Social Security is backpedaling on its decision to require most people to download their own Social Security verification letters, required for things like mortgage approvals and applications for government assistance.

retirement-blog-flag-flutters-in-the-wind-next-to-a-social-security-office-sign (2)

© FRED PROUSER/Reuters/Corbis

The agency had announced that beginning Aug. 1, those in need of these letters would have to sign up for a personal My Social Security account and have access to a computer and a printer, things that many people living in retirement don't have.

A recent report by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, critical of Social Security's decisions to close 64 field offices and 533 mobile offices, points out that in 2013, 5 million people visited Social Security offices to get verification letters to corroborate such things as their income or retirement status. While public access to computers is available in many community libraries, some libraries and Microsoft itself warn against entering sensitive information into a publicly available computer.

In reversing the decision to stop sending verification letters by postal mail, Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said in a statement: "We appreciate the feedback from members of Congress, our community stakeholders and agency partners. We want to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers in a way that is convenient for them and also cost-effective and secure for all."

Response from those most concerned about the issue was positive. "I'm glad the Social Security Administration has listened to our seniors' concerns," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate aging committee, told the Associated Press. "As the agency pushes more people online to conduct their business, we need to make sure our most vulnerable citizens are not being left high and dry."

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310 Comments
r.c.wells
September 17, 2014 at 8:18 am

i am 75 and between my wife and me draw about 16,000 a year.is this not provity level or not? I see all these big numbers listed above and have to laugh at all of you people complaining about their income Bank some money people!!!~!

william stevens
September 17, 2014 at 4:57 am

Social Security is survival for me I only get $1,369.00
with $104.90 taken out for Medicare that leaves me with $1246.00
and oh yes I do get $15.00 a month in food stamps. I am 79 years old

Chazz Jones
September 16, 2014 at 9:50 pm

People talk about double "dipping" should be looking at the IRS! First we earn the money and pay taxes. Then we go on social security and pay taxes on money we had already paid taxes. Double dipping my foot. The S.S.money we sent to Washington went directly into General Revenue. OUR money. OUR money. They want to call OUR money entitlements. How the hell can they call OUR money entitlements. The money the government sends to rich farmers is nothing but welfare. The money given to poor families is money that is spent in the neighborhood immediately. Money given to the one percent is used to buy villa's in France, fancy cars, and/or meals that cost in one sitting what a family of five spends in a month. Long live the Queen!

John
September 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Gray,

That isn't so much of a problem to have those huge payouts. Most people who have such high earnings will continue to have high earnings late in life and will therefore subsidize their own benefits every year.

We also should subject capital gains to Social Security for just the same reason. Again, some people will have gargantuan payouts, but they most likely will be subsidizing them with their own earnings.

Although, it may be even better to have a tiered benefit system that is the reverse of tiered taxation. There would be no upper limit, but the increase would be logarithmic (117,000 earnings might yield 41k benefits but 5M earnings might yield 250k benefits). Indexed to inflation, of course.

Robert
September 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I am 73 last year made over 300,000 thousand dollars I paid in full S.S.
benefits, medicare, federal and state taxes in two states
yet my S.S. benefits are listed as earned income I paid
in for those. why should they be taxed as I payed a little over
90,000 dollars in taxes is this fair. (hell no it isn't)

Elizabeth
September 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Instead of thinking of what we GET start thinking of what we GIVE. I am 70 years old and still work full time. Both me AND MY EMPLOYER PAY INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. I AM RETURNING MORE THAN HALF OF WHAT I GET TO THE SYSTEM AND YET THERE ARE no DEDUCTIONS THAT I CAN TAKE FOR THAT FACT. also I AM PAYING INCOME TAX ON 85% OF WHAT I AM GETTING FROM SOCIAL SECURITY, SO SOMEBODY TELL ME HOW THIS IS FAIR!!! if WE DECIDE TO CONTINUE TO WORK AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE SYSTEM WHY ARE WE PENALIZED AND TAXED ON MONEY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN "GIVEN" TO SOCIAL SECURITY!!!

Gray
September 14, 2014 at 12:53 am

@ L. Dishman,
Then we would have to pay Social Security on all income above $117,000. Currently a person who is now 50, with an annual income of $117,000, who retires at age 65, will get Social Security payments of $41,748 per year. A person who is now age 50, with an annual income of $5,000,000, who retires at age 65 will get social security payments of $41,748 per year. If we tax all income the person making $5,000,000 per year would be eligible for Social Security payments of $1,784,102 per year.

L Dishman
September 13, 2014 at 8:19 pm

They need to start taxing all income...not just up to $117,000...for SS. THAT WOULD HELP KEEP THINGS RUNNING LONGER.

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