Getting Estimates of Your Social Security Benefits

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Social Security will likely be a significant source of your income after you retire. To see estimates of your future retirement benefit from the program, go to the Social Security website. Once you have signed up for an account and signed in, you can get benefit estimates by reviewing your annual Social Security Statement or using the site’s Retirement Estimator.

Your Social Security Statement

Your annual, personalized statement shows estimates of your retirement benefit at three points in time.

  • Your full retirement age (FRA) is somewhere between 66 and 67, depending on your year of birth. Your FRA is when you can start collecting your full, unreduced retirement benefit from Social Security.
  • Age 62 is the earliest you can start collecting a retirement benefit. If you begin collecting a benefit before your FRA, it will be reduced by as much as 30% of the amount you would have received at your FRA.
  • Age 70 is the latest age at which you can start collecting a retirement benefit. Your benefit will be increased by a credit of 8% for each year beyond your FRA that you postpone collecting. The maximum total credit for delayed retirement is 24% for someone whose FRA is 67.

Your statement also contains a record of the earnings on which you have paid Social Security taxes throughout your working years. There are estimates of your disability and survivor benefits, too. All estimates are shown in today’s dollars and assume no future pay increases. The closer you get to retirement, the more accurate your estimates will be.

Retirement Estimator

Between your annual statements, you may wish to get more current estimates of your retirement benefit. That is where the Retirement Estimator comes in.

After you provide some personal information, including your name, Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and date of birth, you can get an estimate of your future retirement benefit. The estimate will be based on when you plan to retire and your projected earnings until retirement.

Other Tools for Getting Estimates

Beyond your statement and the Retirement Estimator, the Social Security site offers a variety of online calculators to help you plan for your financial future.

For professional and unbiased one-on-one guidance on retirement planning, call an Ernst & Young LLP (EY) financial planner.

EY Financial Planning Services is a Pension Boards benefit offered at no cost to actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan, as well as to retired members with annuitized accounts. Call the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047 or visit pbucc.eynavigate.com to learn more.

This article is used with the permission of Ernst & Young LLP.