Lawmakers Want Answers On Consumer Agency’s Faulty Retirement Benefit Planner



Republican senators want answers on why a retirement calculator created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is providing flawed results.

In a letter written to CFPB director Richard Cordray in December, Senate Committee on the Budget Chairman Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama questioned why government funds were used to create a tool for a service already provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The calculator, which was released in November by the government watchdog formed under the Obama administration, is designed to help its users understand how their age affects their Social Security benefits, but failed to provide consistent results with SSA’s version.

CFPB was unable to answer how much was spent on developing the tool.

According to the senators, the differences are amplified for users closer to retirement age.

“While the planner is intended to help consumers understand how choosing their retirement age affects their future Social Security benefits, unfortunately its estimates contain numerous inconsistencies compared to the Social Security Administration’s retirement benefit calculations,” Enzi and Shelby write in the letter.

The Republican lawmakers are asking Cordray to provide the reasons behind the discrepancies in the calculations and are calling for answers on whether the results were tested against SSA’s version. Shelby and Enzi also inquire into what budgetary resources are used in its development and if any outside contractors were utilized in its creation or implementation.

“If the CFPB is to fulfill its own stated mission of ‘empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives,’ then it must provide clear and accurate information for Americans making important financial decisions,” they write.

The senators request Cordray respond to their inquiries by the end of January.