Social Security Act, Sections 205(c)(2), 1106 (a), 1143;
Regulation No. 1, 20 CFR, Sections 404.810-404.812, 422.125; The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C 552a,
P.L. 93-579, Sec. 3(b), (d); Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C 552, P.L. 89-554; Tax Reform Act of 1976 (P.L.94-455); OBRA 1989 and 1990; IRC 6103(m)(7)
TN 6 (11-06)
RM 01305.001 The Social Security Statement
The information in this section is not applicable while mailing of the Social Security Statement is suspended. See information on accessing earnings information using the MySocialSecurity web portal in OA 00205.010.
Since August 08, 1988 SSA has provided Statements of recorded earnings and estimates of Social Security benefits to SSN holders who request this information. Section 1143 of the Social Security Act, as amended, requires SSA to issue such Statements automatically, without request, to all SSN holders age 25 and older who are not yet in benefit status and for whom we can determine a current mailing address. These automatic mailings began in October, 1999, with updated Statements issued annually after that.
SSA began phasing in this issuance program in February 1995 using the Personal Earnings and Benefits Statements (PEBES). We started by distributing one-time PEBES to eligible individuals age 60 and older. The mailings continued through 03/99 to increasingly younger groups of SSN holders. Almost 75 million people age 40 and older received their first Statements during these 5 years.
On October 1, 1999, we expanded the program to provide a PEBES to more than 135 million eligible individuals, as defined in the legislation. These mailings continue and reached 144,882,820 in FY 2006.
In preparation for the expanded program, we enhanced the PEBES processing system to enable us to handle the increased volume of issuances more efficiently. We also redesigned the old PEBES document to make it shorter, easier to read and simpler to understand. We renamed the form the Social Security Statement (no acronym).
The remainder of this subchapter describes the policies and processes we use to send out the automatic Social Security Statements. The redesigned Statement is described in detail in subchapter RM 01310.000. An exhibit of the form is located in RM 01310.010B.
In 2006, SSA implemented changes to the Statement as a result of §419 of the Social Security Protection Act (SSPA). These changes included the addition of the WEP and GPO paragraphs included within the Statement as well as the new one-page Statement From Social Security sent to those individuals with only non-covered earnings posted to their record.
NOTE: Automatic issuance of the Statement does not affect SSN holders’ right to request a Statement at any time. Individuals may still request Statements by completing a Form SSA-7004-SM-OP1, Request for Social Security Statement, on paper or through SSA's Internet web site (see RM 01301.014).
1. The Social Security Statement, Form SSA-7005-SM
The Social Security Statement (Form SSA-7005-SM-OR or SSA-7005-SM-SI) is the form used to provide people who have worked under the Social Security program with information regarding their reported earnings, estimates of the tax contributions they and their employers have paid, and the potential benefits that they and their families may qualify for based on those earnings. The Statements may be issued automatically or on request. Section 1143 of the Social Security Act specifies the personal information that SSA must include on the form.
NOTE: The Social Security Statement has no approved acronym. Although the term “PEBES” continues to be used internally within SSA, we should call the form the Social Security Statement or simply “the Statement” when discussing it with the public.
2. Form SSA-7005-SM-SI
SSA must send the Social Security Statement (Form SSA-7005-SM-SI version) automatically to specified eligible individuals defined in section 1143 of the Act. This version of the Statement, which is highlighted in green, is sent annually to the automatically selected SSN holders.
3. Form SSA-7005-SM-OR
This version of the Social Security Statement (Form SSA-7005-SM-OR) is sent in response to an SSN holder’s request. Requester’s may mail SSA a completed paper Form SSA-7004-SM-OP1, Request for an Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement, or they may complete and transmit a similar form through SSA’s Internet web site (see RM 01301.014). The on-request Statement is highlighted in blue.
NOTE: The major difference between automatically issued and on-request versions of the Statement is how we use not-yet-posted current and future earnings to determine credits and calculate benefit estimates. We explain these factors in RM 01310.005.
4. Form L-7005-SM-SI
This version of the Statement is a one-page Statement From Social Security sent automatically to those SSN holders who have only non-covered earnings. It is highlighted in green and contains information about the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset (WEP/GPO).
5. Form L-7005-SM-OR
This version of the is a one-page Statement From Social Security sent in response to a request to individuals who have only non-covered earnings. It is highlighted in blue and contains information about WEP and GPO.
6. Eligible Individuals
Section 1143 of the Act (see RM 01305.001A.) defines “eligible individuals” as persons age 25 and older who have an SSN and wages or net earnings from self-employment posted to their earnings record. It further describes them as persons who are not yet receiving title II Social Security benefits and for whom the Commissioner of Social Security can determine a current mailing address. (See RM 01305.005B. for the selection process.)
7. Statement Processing System
The PEBES system is the processing system that prepares the personal information for the Social Security Statement. It uses information from the Master Earnings File (MEF) together with information supplied by the requester or by the front-end selection process for automatic Statements to prepare the display of year-by-year earnings and to calculate earnings, credits and benefit estimates. We provide output from the PEBES system to the commercial contractor who prints and mails both automatic and on-request Statements.
8. PEBES Online
PEBES ONLINE is the query system that FO and TSC personnel can use to view the same earnings and benefit estimate information shown on the SSN holder’s Statement.
9. Statement History File
The Statement History File is an electronic file that contains pertinent processing information such as when the last OR and SI Statement was issued for each SSN holder, the language it was in, or whether manual processing actions are currently in progress. The File can be queried online. (See RM 01305.020).
Numident is SSA’s numerical master file of Social Security number holders.
The MBR is SSA’s Master Beneficiary Record, the database that lists those persons who have filed claims for Social Security benefits.
The MEF is SSA’s Master Earnings File, the database that contains SSN holders’ recorded earnings.
WMS (Workload Management System) provides information about title II benefit claims currently in process.
1. Who Will Receive Automatic Social Security Statements
We will send automatic Social Security Statements to eligible individuals who:
are age 25 or older,
have a Social Security Number (SSN),
have any earnings on record (starting in 2006, the Form SSA-L7005-SM-(SI or OR) is sent to SSN holders who only have non-covered earnings),
are not receiving Title II benefits on their SSN, and
have a current mailing address we can determine.
2. Who Does Not Receive Automatic Social Security Statements
We will not send automatic Social Security Statements to otherwise eligible individuals who:
have requested a Statement within the 11 months before they are selected to receive a Statement, or
have a pending claim for Title II or Medicare benefits in process
are currently receiving Title II benefits on their SSN,
are age 62 or older and receive Title II dependent's or survivor's benefits on someone else's SSN or
have a Title II processing limitation on their record. (See RM 01301.046 for an explanation of these limitations. However, recipients of automatic mailings will not receive an SSA-7014G. They will receive no correspondence at all.)
NOTE: Regarding the third bullet, SSA generally reviews the personal records of older dependents and survivors for potential dual entitlement at the time they apply for benefits. This is not done for younger secondary beneficiaries, such as spouses or widows or widowers with children in their care, who are not yet eligible for benefits on their own SSNs. For this reason, SSA will send automatic Statements of their own records to dependent and survivors beneficiaries under age 62 if they meet the other requirements in RM 01305.001C.1.
If an otherwise eligible individual does not get an automatic Statement for a reason such as no address available, no earnings on record, or a pending claim that is later denied or terminated, we will send that individual a Statement in the first year in which the exclusion no longer applies and he/she qualifies to receive one.
3. When We Select Recipients
We select the recipients and send their Statements about 3 months before their birth month. For example, those persons who are selected in the month of January have birthdays in April.
4. Where We Will Get Mailing Addresses
We will get addresses for the automatic issuance of Social Security Statements from two sources:
For most SSN holders, we request addresses from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer Individual Master File. This file is the largest available database that can be accessed by SSN, and which has addresses provided by taxpayers themselves, generally at least yearly. We are authorized to use these IRS addresses by section 6103(m)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6103(m)(7)).
For individuals living in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who do not have to file Federal income tax returns, we will use taxpayer files from the revenue agencies in those locations. We have agreements with the tax agencies of both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to provide this information.
5. How We Produce the Automatic Social Security Statements
We use the PEBES processing system to identify the SSN holders to whom we will send automatic Statements, to procure their addresses from IRS, and to extract relevant personal information from SSA databases. Once we receive the addresses for the requested SSNs, we produce the Statement data using the same earnings, insured status, and computation software as used for Title II claims. We transmit the compiled information to the commercial printing contractor who prints the Statements and mails them to the individual SSN holders.
6. What Information We Include on the Statement
Section 1143 of the Act and our supporting regulations (20 CFR 404.812) specify what information SSA must include on each Statement. We will provide the following:
a statement as to whether the SSN holder meets the earnings credit requirements for each type of benefit;
if insured, estimates of potential retirement, disability, survivors and family benefits payable on the record;
if not insured for a particular type of benefit, a statement that explains why no estimate is given for that benefit;
year-by-year display of both Social Security-covered and Medicare-covered earnings as shown on SSA records as of the date the Statement is prepared;
aggregate estimates of Social Security and Medicare hospital insurance taxes that should have been paid on the earnings by the SSN holder and by the SSN holder's employers;
a description of coverage under Medicare;
a statement about the annual update of the record and a reminder that the Statement also is available upon request, and
general discussions of earnings and benefits.
If a person has only un-posted non-covered earnings, the system will send them the one-page Statement From Social Security for those persons having only non-covered earnings.
Subchapter RM 01310.000 discusses the Statement in detail and provides an exhibit of the redesigned form.
7. What Languages We Use to Provide the Automatic Statement
We print most automatic Statements in English. We issue automatic Statements in Spanish to residents of Puerto Rico whose address is provided by the government of Puerto Rico, where Spanish is the predominant language. However, both the English and Spanish versions of the form tell recipients to contact the SSA 800 telephone number or their local Social Security office if they want to replace their Statement with one in the other language.
If an SSN holder contacts SSA to request a replacement Statement in the other language, the FO or TSC will send the person the appropriate Spanish or English version of Form SSA-7004-SM-OP1, Request for Social Security Statement. When the request form is completed and returned to SSA, the SSN holder will receive an on-request Statement in the desired language.
8. What We Do With Undelivered Statements
We do not re-mail Social Security Statements that are re