The Social Security Statement is one of the most important outreach efforts of the Social Security Administration (SSA). In October 1999, SSA began sending out the Statement to inform Americans aged 25 or older about their estimated benefits and their earnings records. This article reviews the Statement’s history, discusses how the public uses the Statement in retirement planning, and highlights how the Statement has increased the public’s knowledge of Social Security. The article describes SSA tools and publications that the public can use in retirement planning. It concludes with suggestions for how financial educators, counselors, planners, and researchers might use the Statement and related survey data to inform the public about Social Security programs, benefits, and services.

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