Whether you are already retired, close to retirement age, or just wanting to know what Social Security benefits you could expect in the years to come, this article provides all the Social Security benefits calculators available to best plan for your future.
Scroll through until you find the one you are looking for. Each provides a description of what the tool does, and what information it wants from you to give you a proper estimate. Some only take seconds to a few minutes. A few others are very involved.
1.) Retirement Calculator
This calculator gives you a personal estimate of what your average monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on if you retire early (age 62), at full retirement age (age 67) or at the latest age of retirement (age 70).
All you need to do is verify your identity first, by entering in your name, location, social and a few other details. And then it asks for how much you made last year. Takes only 1-2 minutes to get an estimate. Very handy.
2.) Social Security Quick Calculator
This calculator gives the same estimate as the Retirement Calculator above. Though it doesn't access your earnings record, meaning you don't have to enter your personal information to get an estimate. Just enter your date of birth, earnings for the current year, and finally your future retirement date option.
3.) Retirement & Survivors Benefits: Life Expectancy Calculator
This one could be considered a bit.. morbid. Though useful, I suppose. It generates "the average number of additional years a person can expect to live, based on the gender and date of birth you enter". There are disclaimers saying it doesn't take several factors into account (of course), and figures are based on 'cohort life expectancy tables'.
This is useful to understand how to think about retirement nonetheless. If you can reasonably expect to live to 86.8 years old, for example, then you can plan ahead for budgeting for your life if you plan to retire and live solely on benefits from age 62-70 and beyond.
4.) Retirement Age Calculator
Since full retirement age differs slightly from age 65-67, this calculator tells you exactly when your full retirement age is, down to the month. Just enter in your birth year. Very quick. No personal info needed.
5.) Online Calculator
This is a more detailed benefits calculator that includes estimates for retirement monthly benefits, as well as disability and survivors benefits. It asks for your date of birth, age of retirement, and annual earnings by the year. Can be a little tedious to fill out. But gives you a more accurate answer IF you have all of your yearly earnings for every single year that you have worked since you started working.
Cool thing is you can chose today's dollars or future dollars, to adjust for estimated inflation rates. Useful if you are several years or decades away from retirement.
6.) Social Security Detailed Calculator
This is the most accurate (and time consuming) calculator for finding out retirement benefits. It's recommended if you are just looking for a rough estimate to use either the Retirement Calculator or the Online Calculator. Though if you are edging ever closer to retirement age, and needing very specific answers, use this calculator.
Social Security Benefit Calculator Download. You will need to actually download this calculator from the SSI website. From that link you can get all the information on how to download, as well as the download link depending on if you are using a Windows or Mac.
7.) Online Calculator (WEP Version)
WEP stands for Windfall Elimination Provision. This calculator gives you an estimate of benefits if you have a pension from work not covered by Social Security. It's not quite as accurate as the Detailed Calculator. Though certainly gets the job done. It asks for the same information as the Online Calculator, additionally asking for your 'non-covered pension monthly amount'.
8.) Calculators: GPO Calculator
Use this in conjunction with the WEP Version Calculator if you receive a pension from work and are wanting to find out how that effects your spousal benefits. GPO stands for Government Pension Offset. You will need: estimated "gross" monthly amounts of your government pension (in today's dollars) you receive for work not covered by Social Security AND the estimated monthly amount of your spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits you will receive before GPO.
The site does offer a toll free number to call if you don't have access to this information or otherwise need help on this one: 1-800-772-1213.
9.) Retirement Earnings Test Calculator
Use this calculator to see how your benefits might be affected if you continue to earn income in retirement. All you need to do is enter your date of birth, your estimated earnings for that year, and your estimated monthly benefit. So it would be useful to use one of the other benefit calculators to get your estimated monthly benefit first, if you don't already have that information. Of course if you are already retired, then you already have that information. Very handful tool here.
10.) Benefits for Spouses
This calculator shows how your spouse's benefits will be effected, depending on when you retire (early vs full). Spoiler: spousal benefits go down if you retire early. Even still, doesn't mean you shouldn't. Use this tool and do the math to see if it makes sense for you.
11.) Early or Late Retirement?
And finally, perhaps the most interesting calculator of them all. This calculator does the math on how your benefits will be adjusted monthly depending on if you retire early, at full retirement age, or as late as age 70. Once you know your estimated benefits, I highly recommend using this tool.
Play around with it. Consider what you know about your life situation and spending habits, and see if you can come to age number that makes the most sense for you. I don't buy into the idea that retiring early is a bad idea by any stretch. Though if you end up living to 108 for example, it certainly would be a bad idea.
It's an odd thing, trying to guess how long you might need to depend on Social Security benefits for you and likely your spouse and family. No strategy is particularly right or wrong as it's all circumstantial. Though with all of these calculators, it's easier than ever to figure out the best strategy for you. Hope all this is found useful