As a cost cutting measure, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has stopped mailing annual benefits statements to those who are younger than 60. If you have been relying on that statement to tell you what your Social Security benefits might be, the information remains available online at www.ssa.gov/estimator.
For those of you applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011 there are now only two options for payment - direct deposit into a bank account or a prepaid debit card. Receiving a paper check is no longer an option.
Current Social Security recipients who are receiving a paper check must switch to direct deposit or the prepaid debit card before March 1, 2013.
Those of you who begin drawing Social Security and then change your mind (for example, someone who is 62 and is laid off and then goes back to work) will now have only twelve months to make that decision and withdraw your application. Withdrawing will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The "file and suspend" process remains available, but only prospectively. A retiring spouse may claim a benefit based on his or her own earnings record or 50% of the benefit of the other spouse. However, the other spouse must have filed for benefits. If the other spouse continues to work, he or she can file for benefits and then suspend benefits and continue to earn delayed retirement credits.