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Budget issues are plaguing just about everyone these days, the government included. In an article recently posted on Kiplinger, a website geared towards finance advice, Mary Beth Franklin revealed that, as of April, most employees in the United State will no longer be receiving mailed statements of their Social Security benefit estimates. Why? Because of the national budget, or lack thereof.

These statements, which I actually just received by mail last week, contain a breakdown of past work history, earnings, and general information regarding retirement. Franklin indicated Social Security started mailing the informational statements in 1999-to the tune of about $70 million a year. Luckily, the majority of the information is still available through an online estimator at www.ssa.gov/estimator.

So, how does this affect you? Social Security benefit estimations also reveal an amount of money you, as an individual, could be expected to receive if you become disabled before retirement age. There is hope that the Social Security Administration will have the mailings back up and running next fall-but, only to those over the age of 60, which leaves out a lot of our clients. Unfortunately, the online estimator won't include the information that could be considered most important to our clients. For instance, annual earning histories and disability payment estimations won't be included, which would make it harder for disabled individuals under the age of 60 to figure out how much they might be entitled to if proven disabled.

Will this new plan of attack save the government money? Sure; it will probably help them save millions. But it will undoubtedly leave a number of people in the dark when their statements stop arriving in the mail. Fear not-if you're ever curious about your earnings history and estimated disability payments, you can request this information from the Social Security Administration.

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