SSA translates benefits online
- By Bryant Jordan
- Nov 27, 2000
SSA's My Statement home page
The Social Security Administration has come up with its own Rosetta stone
to help the public understand the projected benefits statements the agency
Every worker will receive a statement in English, but SSA will make
samples of the statement available online in six languages: Spanish, Italian,
Polish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Tagalog. Samples have been posted online
since Nov. 27 at www.ssa.gov/mystatement.
Just as the Rosetta stone provided the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics,
SSA spokeswoman Carolyn Cheezum said the online translations can help workers
with weak or no English reading skills understand the projected benefits
SSA has provided the "Wanda Worker" statement named after the fictitious
employee on the English version of the sample form since October 1999.
The four-page form is mailed out three months before a person's birthday.
It shows how much money has gone into a worker's Social Security retirement
account and indicates how much a worker can expect to draw in future benefits.
With the official English version in hand, workers more comfortable
with one of the languages covered online can figure out the statement by
comparing the two, Cheezum said.
"They can print out one from online and lay it down side-by-side with
their individual statement and get an idea of what they'll receive from
Social Security," she said.
The online samples should be a great help to non-English readers, said
Daphne Kwok, executive director of the national chapter of the Organization
of Chinese Americans in Washington, D.C.
"Any material that can be translated to further explain the various
processes [of government] is beneficial to all groups," she said. "There
is a high percentage of Asian Americans who are immigrants and English is
not their first language. And Social Security is such a complicated issue even in English."
The agency is working on putting the sample online in even more languages,