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Nudging us into giving up on our Social Security

Well, well, well. I was looking over my money situation and realized I hadn't seen my annual estimate of Social Security benefits that's been coming every July for years. Hmm, I wondered, did I throw it in the wrong pile? Or did the feds cunningly decide to terminate this service as one more step in the path leading the American people to believe that Social Security will not be there for us and there's nothing we can do about it?

You guessed it!

Googling for "social security annual statement" got me to this helpful page, where the gummint explains that

In light of the current budget situation, we have suspended issuing Social Security Statements.

You may be able to estimate your retirement benefit using our online Retirement Estimator.


I'd really like to know how much money it saved them to do this. As much as they would save by suspending drone attacks in Pakistan for a year? You can bet not.

Yes, I got the same information they would have mailed me, by fishing out my most recent tax return and entering the right information. But how many other people have the time, energy, and attention to think of doing this.

Listening to my colleagues, especially the younger ones, over the years, I've been hideously impressed with the effectiveness of the quiet campaign to induce disbelief in our entitlement to our pensions. Correction: it's not so much disbelief as an absence of belief, and even more effectively, an absence of attention.

Yeah, "Nudge", baby!

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Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

sent. This information was always somewhat heartening (I say somewhat because if I retired at any reasonable age, I would still be eating catfood) to read when I got it, and now? Yup, the PTB are "disappearing" our SS in more ways than one. Have you seen any mention of this elsewhere? This should be spread far and wide, IMO.

Submitted by lambert on

And of course the online calculator wouldn't be manipulated. Because they would never do that.

Submitted by dirac on

Interesting, I got my statement this year. Perhaps they decided mid-batch.

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

Result was the same as what I've received on my paper statement.

Submitted by lambert on

If there's one thing we've learned from both the electronic voting and the MERS fiascos (not to mention high frequency trading, the manipulation of official statistics, the warrantless surveillance of all email, and so forth) it's that any digital stream controlled by our feral elite is subject to manipulation for their own purposes. Think of your paper statement as your paper ballot. Now imagine you notice your benefits have been cut, accidentally, of course. Which do you think you're going to be able to use more effectively in your phone call or at the office? The official letter? Or, "I checked the website, and...."

Call me foily but...

I know you're trying to be the bearer of good news here...

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

From what I can tell from the article I linked below, the statements (not just the calculator that is there now) will be back - but they will be online until you turn 60, when they will be sent to you again. I'm okay with this.

I plan to keep my tax returns and will compare annual income from them to what is on my SS statement.

Submitted by gob on

It's worth clicking through for both the commentary and the facts.

Here’s a chicken-or-egg question for you: is Social Security’s future really imperiled, or do Americans just think it’s falling apart because Washington keeps shooting the program in the foot?


The SSA also is shelving plans to open eight new hearing offices to handle the backlog of disability claims, which has soared during the recession. Each disability claim is reviewed by an examiner; filings have jumped from 2.6 million annual claims in fiscal 2005 to 3.0 million in FY 2009 and 3.2 million FY 2010. The claims process is complex and waiting times are long, averaging 800 to 900 days in many cities and sometimes as long as 1,400 days.

"It's all about the budget cuts", for sure -- they make a great justification for decreasing both access and awareness; and the more we believe SS is "in trouble", the more willing we'll be to suffer through budget cuts in the mistaken belief that they will help matters.

Submitted by Lex on

Though not young, i've always kind of worked under the assumption that programs like SS wouldn't be there for me in retirement.

Not because i've bought into any propaganda about the program's insolvency, but because i haven't bought into the propaganda about how my government works. I've known for a long, long time that my elected representatives don't give a fuck about me. I've known that they'll loot and pillage whatever they get their hands on. And the writing has been on the wall for a long time that those representatives will do everything in their power to take the benefits i've paid for away from me before i get to use them.

Really, they've been working on making sure that SS is insolvent for thirty years now. The system was designed for today's workers to pay for their grandparents and parents; then someday we'd be paid by our children and grandchildren. It's a fair deal. But when the "trust fund" now contains nothing except iou's one has to look at who's responsible for repaying those iou's and decide if you trust them to actually pay up. It's truly a trust fund now, based on trusting Democrats and Republicans...which i simply won't do.

That doesn't lead me to think the program should be abandoned. It simply makes me angry that people will end up getting screwed because politicians can't control their spending habit and won't raise revenues. Come on, borrowing from your kids' piggy bank to live with fewer cares today is repulsive. Doing it and blowing the money on stupid shit like more planes and tanks is even more stupid.

I'd be ok with borrowing from the trust fund to fund things with an ROI or that would increase employment or that might make the world a better place for young people as they grow up. Doing it so that you can cut taxes and spend more on nothing just pisses me off.

But i still don't want it destroyed because three grandparents are alive, and my parents are getting older. They all paid in and deserve to get back. Also, i don't want to have to support them because the government yanked the rug out from under them.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

but I always thought like you, too. No faith the turds-that-be wouldn't rip me off. I'm actually fairly surprised I'm going to get some SS at the rate things are going. It's amazing how long it can take to destroy a system if there are people willing to be sand in the gears.

Resistance works.