Research & Analysis by Philip Armour

How Did the Reintroduction of the Social Security Statement Change Workers' Expectations and Plans?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 4 (released November 2020)
by Philip Armour

This article examines how the reintroduction of Social Security Statement mailings from September 2014 through December 2016 affected recipients' expectations about Social Security benefits and their benefit claiming decisions. During the reintroduction period, Statements were mailed to workers of selected ages, enabling a comparison of results for 2016 recipients, 2014/2015 recipients, and reintroduction-period nonrecipients. The author fielded a specialized American Life Panel survey module to elicit recall of and reactions to receiving the Statement and used earlier survey modules to control for respondents' prior Social Security knowledge. He finds that recipients recalled and valued the information provided in the Statement, but that the effects rapidly diminished as time passed after receipt. Recipients were likelier than nonrecipients to change their planned claiming age and to expect Congress to enact future benefit cuts.