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​​DENVER – The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) delivered requested written testimony for a House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security hearing on What Workers Need to Know About Social Security as They Plan for Their Retirement that took place on Wednesday, July 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. FPA’s testimony was sought as an educative resource about how financial planners help clients address Social Security benefits as part of their retirement plans.

Penned by FPA members with expertise in the area, including FPA Advocacy Chair Evelyn Zohlen, CFP®, Frederick Miller, Ph. D., CFP® and Sharon Lacy, CFP®, the testimony began by stating the need for seniors to have necessary resources so they can understand when to take their benefits:

As Financial Planners, we advise almost every client who is considering retirement about the essential role that Social Security will play in providing a stable and reliable source of retirement income. Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement income planning, regardless of whether it represents 20% or 80% of your retirement income.  Many seniors do not understand that the timing of claiming their Social Security benefits can make a significant difference to the success or failure of their retirement income plan.  Providing seniors with the information and the tools needed to evaluate this decision is critical.

The testimony also outlined some the key questions seniors should ask when discussing Social Security benefits, including:

Is Social Security going to be there for me, and is it more likely to be there if I take my benefit early?
If means testing is adopted, will I be better off taking my benefit early?
What are the considerations for taking my benefit at 62 vs. 66 or 70?
What is a spousal benefit and do I qualify for that benefit?
What is a survivor’s benefit and do I qualify for that benefit?
How do my filing decisions affect my spouse and how do his/her filing decisions affect me?
What is meant by “longevity insurance?”
Where can I find unbiased information on when to file for Social Security?

“We appreciate the invitation by the House Ways and Means Committee to provide testimony on Social Security and its impact on financial and retirement planning. This is an important issue that affects all American workers and we advocate for a system that is predictable and dependable – uncertainty is what many Americans feel at this time,” said Karen Nystrom, FPA’s Director of Advocacy. “Evelyn, Frederick and Sharon did a commendable job identifying the issues many people face when accounting for Social Security in their retirement. We appreciate the opportunity to be on record as the committee continues deliberations on this important topic.”

The invitation to provide testimony resulted from the many visits to offices on the Hill as part of FPA’s Advocacy Day on June 25. 65 FPA members from 21 states advocated for policy positions with elected leaders on matters of importance to consumers, financial planners and the profession.

A copy of the entire testimony submitted to the House Ways and Means can be accessed HERE.​