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 Fact Sheet

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  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) launched a new electronic service that allows workers to compute estimates of their future Social Security retirement benefits online at SSA's internet site

  • This service will allow workers to better prepare and plan for their future financial security.


    • To help workers plan early for a secure retirement, SSA launched a new service in October 1999 which provides all workers age 25 and over who are not already receiving Social Security benefits an annual Social Security Statement in the mail. The Social Security Statement provides workers with estimates of their retirement benefits at age 62, full retirement age and age 70.

    • The Social Security Retirement Planner expands on that initiative by giving workers an opportunity to customize those estimates by entering other retirement ages and different projected future earnings.

    • The estimate will be different from the estimates shown on the Social Security Statement if different earnings are entered.

    • Most financial advisors believe that people need about 70 percent of their preretirement income to live comfortably in retirement. Social Security replaces only a portion of that amount—about 42 percent for the average worker.

    • Social Security is the foundation on which to build a stable financial future, but a comfortable retirement has always rested on a three-legged stool – Social Security, pensions and savings.

      • The Social Security Retirement Planner will provide individuals with three options for obtaining an estimate of their Social Security retirement benefit –

        1. The Quick Calculator produces a very rough estimate that only requires a worker to provide their age and current earnings. Benefit estimates are provided for reduced retirement at age 62, full retirement age and age 70.The Online Calculator produces a benefit estimate based on past, present and projected future earnings data that is input by the worker. The worker can create various scenarios such as when they plan to retire and how much they expect to earn in the future.
        2. For the Detailed and most elaborate estimate, a worker can download and install a software program on their personal computer (PC). The interactive program allows workers the most flexibility to customize their estimates based on differing scenarios and produces a variety of benefit numbers for retirement, survivors and disability benefits for a worker and his/her family.

    NOTE: To maintain privacy and to protect records from unauthorized users, none of the calculators are linked to individual earnings records or any other information in SSA’s database. All benefit estimates are based strictly on input from the users.

    • The Social Security Retirement Planner also provides links to important information on factors that can affect a worker’s retirement benefit, such as military service, household earnings, and federal employment. Browsers can go directly to any of the site areas for detailed information on issues that may affect their benefits.The Social Security Retirement Planner walks individuals through the retirement planning and application process.
    • The website offers valuable information on issues to consider when workers are contemplating retirement, what documents are needed when applying for benefits, other potential benefits for the worker or family members, and how and where to apply for benefits.
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