Providers Suggest Ways to Improve Social Security Education

August 13, 2012 ( - In interviews with defined contribution (DC) plan providers, researchers found a desire to present a holistic picture of individuals’ potential retirement income.

By Rebecca Moore | August 13, 2012
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Plan providers reported numerous efforts to include Social Security benefits information in their communications with employees, but indicated the efforts are not totally effective, according to a working paper from the Pension Research Council. 

Every plan provider made a variety of tools available to participants, including online calculators and/or worksheets, to help with judging about how much they needed to accumulate by their target retirement dates. The calculators also tended to include Social Security benefits as a factor to consider in calculating retirement saving needs.  

All the providers reported having website content about Social Security benefits, including articles, seminars and links to the Social Security website. Some providers arranged for representatives from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to participate in webinars and seminars. The input provided by these SSA representatives was considered of high value.   

Despite these educational efforts, most plan providers believed that participants still lacked a good understanding of how the Social Security benefit structure works, what level of benefits to expect, and how to evaluate the most effective time to claim benefits.