If you are a working adult in the US, you have received an annual letter from the Social Security Administration for the last decade or so which estimates your retirement earnings. The “Social Security Statement” clearly and concisely presents your earnings history and explains what monies you, and your family, will be eligible for based on various events at various times. For instance, it tells how much you can collect if you file for retirement benefits at age 62, if you file for benefits at your “full retirement age” (which varies based on when you were born), and if you wait to file for benefits until age 70.
Due to budgetary constraints, the SSA suspended mailing the statements out in March. The Social Security Administration has a project in-process to put the statements on-line but that is not done, yet, and still has several issues to be addressed. So what can you do in the meantime?
You can use the SSA’s on-line Retirement Estimator to get some of the information from the missing statement. Enter a few bits of data about yourself (name, mother’s maiden name, birth date, SSN, etc.) and the program will look up your earnings history and present you with estimated benefits at ages 62, full retirement age, and 70. You can also create three additional scenarios where you enter your intended retirement age and your estimated earnings until then, so you can see how tweaking those items will affect your benefits.
Now if only the on-line estimator could gaze into a crystal ball and predict the outcome of future Congressional action on benefits!