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Estimate Your Retirement Benefits with Tools from Social Security

Whether you’re getting close to retirement or planning for the future, check out Social Security’s retirement estimator.

The estimator gives you an idea of what your monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on your current record of Social Security earnings. Your actual benefit amount cannot be determined until you apply for benefits.

As you plan for your retirement, keep in mind that you’ll need about 70 percent of your pre-retirement earnings to maintain your standard of living. Social Security benefits will only make up a part of this percentage and should be supplemented by a pension, savings, and/or investments. Check out 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement.

When’s the Best Time To Retire?

Choosing when to retire is an important decision, but it’s also a personal choice and one you should carefully consider.

When’s the best time? There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Social Security offers a list of factors to consider in When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. You’ll learn:

  • How your monthly benefit amount can differ based on the age at which you start receiving benefits;
  • How your decision could affect your family;
  • How you can retire and continue working; and
  • How you can get estimates of your benefit amounts online at Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.

The Social Security website offers several tools to help you plan for your retirement, including an online Retirement Estimator to get immediate and personalized retirement benefit estimates. The estimator is a convenient and secure financial planning tool, allowing you to create “what if” scenarios. For instance, you can change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. Then when you’re ready, you can apply online for your retirement benefits.

Learn more about how you can start planning for your retirement and order your free copy of When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits.

Someone illegally using your Social Security number causes a lot of problems. Learn what to do if this happens to you.

Social Security Statements Now Available Online

You can now get your Social Security Statement online. The online option is the only way to receive your statement unless you are 60 or older or turning 25 this year.

The statement provides estimates of the retirement and disability benefits you or your family may receive, making it important to have when financial planning. You can also use it to make sure your earnings are being accurately posted to your Social Security record. Incorrect reporting could mean that you won’t receive the benefits you are entitled to.

The statement also provides:

  • A list of your lifetime earnings according to Social Security’s records
  • The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid
  • Information about qualifying and signing up for Medicare
  • Things to consider for those age 55 and older who are thinking of retiring
  • The opportunity to apply online for retirement and disability benefits
  • A printable version of your Social Security statement

To get a personalized online statement you must be able to provide information about yourself that matches information already on file with Social Security. Some people may not be successfully verified through this process. If you have trouble with verification you can request that a paper Social Security Statement be mailed to you. You can also visit your local Social Security office and present an identity document in order to create an account and gain access to the online version.

View your Social Security statement online.

Asked by Anonymous

How do I sign up for direct deposit for SS check?

If you already receive Social Security or SSI benefits and you have a bank account, you can sign up for Direct Deposit by:

Learn more about signing up to get your Social Security benefits through direct deposit.