Letter to the editor

The Social Security Administration recently made a new program available on the FirstGov for Seniors Web site. The program purports to do a "very accurate" calculation of federal annuities. However, there is a problem.

The annuity is arrived at by multiplying the percent (for service time) by the high-three average salary (the average salary over the highest three years, usually the last three). To the extent either of these figures is inaccurate, the results are inaccurate.

Incredibly, the program does not handle computation of the high-three! Instead, it asks the user for his best guess.

Didn't Social Security ever hear of GIGO — garbage in, garbage out? How on Earth can a computer program produce "very accurate" results when it relies on the guess of the user?

Robert Benson
Defense Logistics Agency

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