Unfortunately getting answers to your questions is about to get even harder.
In a move designed to reduce the administrative costs of the Social Security system and unbeknownst to many, a move is already underway by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to systematically close field offices and leave vacancies created by retiring workers unfilled. This in spite of the increased demand on the system created by baby boomers who are retiring in increasing numbers.
Under the “Vision 2025” plan scheduled to be released this fall and being developed by the National Academy of Public Administration, the current trend will continue until the bulk of SSA’s twelve hundred field offices are closed and those staff members who remain have only “generalized knowledge” about benefits (meaning they don’t know when you should claim or how much you’ll get).
Customers could reach an actual claims representative only in very limited circumstances, while in the vast majority of cases, the only way to interact with the SSA would be through an “online self-service directory.”
Do you know what the average age is of the people in line at the self-service register in your local super-market? I suspect there aren’t very many seniors in that line. Now they’re going to be asked to hop on their iPad mini to figure out how and when to claim their Social Security benefits.