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How Do I Find My Social Security Estimate

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Using Your Pia To Determine Your Benefit Amount

How to Calculate Your Social Security Benefits

Once the PIA has been calculated, all your benefits will be based on this figure. Your PIA is the maximum benefit that you could receive once you become eligible.

Your maximum benefit may be payable if:

  • You retire at full retirement age
  • You are a widow or widower who is at least full retirement age
  • You are a disabled worker

In other circumstances, the benefits that you receive will be a certain percentage of your maximum benefit. For example, if you elect to receive early retirement benefits, your maximum benefit will be reduced by a certain percentage for each month of early retirement. If you or your family members are eligible for reduced benefits, the reduction will be expressed as a percentage of your PIA.

Example: Mr. Jones retired at age 66 after working for many years. His PIA was determined to be $1,176. He receives the maximum retirement benefit so his monthly benefit check is $1,176. His wife retired at age 66 as well . Since her own PIA was less, she decided to base her retirement income on her husbands PIA. She is entitled to 50 percent of his PIA, so she receives a monthly benefit check of $588.

The following chart summarizes the relationship between your PIA and your eventual benefits:

Benefit

82½% of deceased workers PIA75% of deceased workers PIA

Social Security Statements And Where To Find Your Estimated Benefits

Two people ask about Social Security Statements and where to find estimated benefits.

Two people posed similar questions about Social Security Statements. One asked, “I do not have a Social Security Statement, so how do I get an estimate of my Primary Insurance Amount or PIA?” The other asked, “Each year, I review my Social Security Statement online to verify my earnings record. I know the benefits are estimated based on the assumption that I will continue to earn the same in future years that I did in the past couple of years. Is there a website or formula I can use to calculate my estimated benefits if I decide to quit working or earn substantially less than I am currently earning? I am now 58 years old.”

Well, both of you are looking for similar information.

The first one says, “I don’t have a Social Security Statement to refer to.” You should obtain one whether you’re going to use the calculations done by Social Security, or you’re going to calculate them on your own, maybe using the resources I’m going to share with the second person. In any case, you’re going to need a copy of your earnings record.

What you’re asking about is your PIA, or your Primary Insurance Amount, which is your retirement benefit at your full retirement age. It’s determined mostly by your earnings record as the key input, so you’ve got to have that.

Once you have your earnings record, both of you are at the same place.

Fact #: Most Elderly Beneficiaries Rely On Social Security For The Majority Of Their Income

Social Security provides the majority of income to most elderly Americans. For about half of seniors, it provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 4 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income, across multiple surveys and the study that matches survey and administrative data.

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How Inflation Impacts Your Pia

Your PIA is calculated at age 62. If you wait beyond age 62, cost-of-living adjustments will be applied to your PIA for each year afterward.

If you have already had most of your 35 years of earnings, and you are near age 62 today, the age 70 benefit amount you see on your Social Security statement will likely be higher due to these cos- of-living adjustments. Many people do not account for this when doing their own calculations, which can lead them to think that taking Social Security early is a better deal, when waiting is often the better deal.

In the table below, our hypothetical worker, born in 1954, is eligible for full retirement at age 66. The column on the right shows the effect of inflation for waiting beyond age 62 to take their benefits.

Effect of Age on Claiming Benefits
Year

Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts About Social Security

Free Social Security Calculator Tool: Estimate Your Benefits  My Money ...

Social Security provides a foundation of income on which workers can build to plan for their retirement. It also provides valuable social insurance protection to workers who become disabled and to families whose breadwinner dies.

Eighty-five years after President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, Social Security remains one of the nations most successful, effective, and popular programs.

Don’t Miss: Social Security Administration (ssa)

Do You Expect To Live A Long Life

Many people live longer than they expect.

Because Social Security provides guaranteed income for life, it’s especially valuable to you when you reach age 80 and beyond. Claiming benefits at your full Social Security benefit age or later could be a good way to secure your monthly income during your later years. Your benefit increases the longer you wait to claim, up to age 70, and is adjusted annually with the cost of living. If you live into your 80s but claim at age 62 instead of your full retirement age or later, your total lifetime benefits will be lower by thousands of dollars.Calculate your expected longevity.

Claiming at your full benefit age could still make sense for you.

We understand it’s difficult to make predictions. You may want to plan for the possibility that you may spend 20 or more years in retirement. On average, a woman reaching age 65 today will live to age 87, and a man will live to age 84. Waiting to claim as long as you can could still make sense for you if you are married, are the higher earner in the household, and want your surviving spouse to keep the highest monthly benefit after you die. Remember, you can claim at any point between age 62 and 70. Each additional month that you wait to claim gives you a permanent increase in your monthly benefit which becomes more valuable as you age.Calculate your longevity.

There’s a good chance that you’ll live into your 80s and beyond.

Fact #: Social Security Lifts Millions Of Elderly Americans Out Of Poverty

Without Social Security benefits, about 4 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal, according to official estimates based on the 2019 Current Population Survey. Social Security benefits lift more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty, these estimates show.

An important study that matches Census estimates to administrative data suggests that the official estimates overstate elderly reliance on Social Security. That study finds that in 2012, 3 in 10 elderly Americans would be poor without Social Security, and that the program lifted more than 10 million elderly Americans out of poverty.

No matter how it is measured, however, its clear that Social Security brings millions of elderly Americans out of poverty and dramatically reduces the elderly poverty rate.

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Find Out Your Estimated Social Security Benefits

Periodically checking your estimated Social Security benefits serves several purposes: It helps you plan for retirement and allows you to check for and correct errors.

The Social Security Administration keeps a database of your earnings record and work credits, tracking both through your Social Security number. You can see this information on your Social Security Statement, which is available to everyone age 25 and over. The Social Security Statement also gives you an estimate of the benefits you’ll receive at retirement age, which can play an important role in your financial planning.

Calculate Your Benefits On Your Own

Fisher Investments Explains How to Estimate Your Social Security Benefit

This is the most complicated way of determining how much Social Security pays you upon retirement. While it is much easier to use an online calculator, it is possible to calculate your benefit amount manually on your own. It requires a moderately complex computation based on your earnings history, retirement age, and a couple of other factors. We will dive into deep detail on how to perform this calculation in the next section.

Also Check: Income After Retirement Social Security

There Are A Few Tools You Can Use To Calculate Your Social Security Benefits Including Signing Up For A My Social Security Account

The best way to estimate your Social Security benefits is to sign up for a my Social Security account. The Social Security Administration used to mail benefit statements every five years to workers between the ages of 25 and 60 and then annually until they started taking benefits. But since 2011, the agency has cut back on mailing statements. It now only sends paper statements to workers who are at least 60 years old and have not yet signed up for a my Social Security account. The statements are sent about three months before your birthday.

For those who have an account, you will receive an email about three months before your birthday reminding you to review your online statement.

The benefit estimate provided in the statement is based on your past earnings and a projection of your future income, which assumes your income will remain at the same level as the previous year until you retire. You could get more than the estimate if you end up earning more in the future or less if your income drops. The statement provides an estimate if you continue working until age 62, your full retirement age and age 70.

The statement also includes an estimate for survivor benefits for your family and what you would receive each month if you became disabled and started taking disability benefits.

Managing Your Social Security

Your online account at my Social Security is a powerful tool that’ll tell you what benefit you’ll get at 62. It’s also handy for tracking your earnings and estimating your benefits under different scenarios. Once you dive in and start exploring the value of delaying Social Security, you may even decide to extend your timeline. And then you can start daydreaming about more pleasant things, like a comfortable and relaxing retirement.

Read Also: What Will I Get From Social Security When I Retire

Benefit Reduction If Taken Before Full Retirement Age

When calculating benefits for early retirement, there are one or two calculations, depending on how early benefits are taken. Assuming a normal retirement age of 67, the age of 62 is the earliest year a person can receive benefits or 60 months early.

The benefit is reduced by 5/9 of 1% for each month before the normal retirement age , up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of 1% per month.

For example, let’s say that a person wants to retire at 62, leading to a 60-month reduction from the normal retirement age of 67. The first 36 months would be calculated as 36 months times 5/9 of 1% plus 24 months times 5/12 of 1%.

  • First 36 months: 5/9 = .5555 * 1% = .005555 * 36 months = .19999 or 20%*
  • Remaining 24 months: 5/12 = .416666 * 1% = .00416666 * 24 months = .0999 or 10%
  • In other words, benefits would be reduced by 30% if taken at age 62.

*The results were rounded and multiplied by 100 to create a percentage.

Social Security For Spouses And Survivors

How Do I Calculate My Social Security Benefit?

Spousal benefits are available to current or widowed spouses aged 62 or older. Applications for spousal benefits are not valid until the other spouse files for their own benefits. It is possible for a non-working spouse to be eligible for a spousal benefit based on their working spouse’s benefit. Based on the working spouse’s age of retirement, the spousal benefit can be up to half of the working spouse’s benefit.

A widow or widower can collect a survivor benefit as early as age 60, given that the marriage lasted more than nine months. This requirement is waived if the widow or widower has a child under the age of 16. In the case where both individuals in a married couple are receiving SS benefits, and one dies, the widow or widower can continue receiving their own benefit or their spouse’s, but not both. It is also possible for a widow or widower to switch benefits in retirement. For instance, if the deceased spouse was scheduled to receive larger benefit amounts at age 70, the widow or widower can first file for their own benefits, then claim their former spouse’s benefits later in order to maximize payments.

A person who is divorced, who was married for more than 10 years and has not remarried, can receive benefits based on their ex-spouse’s work history as long as the divorced person meets all of the following conditions:

The ex-spouse’s benefits can also be claimed even if the ex-spouse has not filed for their own benefits, as long as both parties are above age 62.

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How Does The Calculator Estimate My Retirement Benefits Payment

Our simplified estimate is based on two main data points: your age and average earnings. Your retirement benefit is based on how much youve earned over your lifetime at jobs for which you paid Social Security taxes. Your monthly retirement benefit is based on your highest 35 years of salary history. You can get your earnings history from the Social Security Administration .

Your Social Security benefit also depends on how old you are when you take it. You can start collecting at age 62, the minimum retirement age, but youll get a bigger monthly payment if you wait until full retirement age, which is 66 but is gradually moving to 67 for people born in 1960 or after. If you can wait until 70 to start collecting, youll receive your maximum monthly benefit.

A single person born in 1960 who has averaged a $50,000 salary, for example, would get $1,332 a month by retiring at 62 the earliest to start collecting. The same person would get $1,911 by waiting until age 67, full retirement age. And he or she would get $2,370, the maximum benefit on those earnings, by waiting until age 70. Payments dont increase if you wait to collect past 70.

Other factors affecting the size of your benefit include whether youve worked for state or local government for more than 10 years your Social Security payment may be decreased if you paid into the civil service retirement program, for example.

Estimate Your Future Earnings

The benefit estimate you see in your online account assumes your earnings will remain the same for the rest of your working years. If you agree with that assumption, you don’t have to do anything here. But if you plan on getting a raise or even a part-time job to supplement your earnings, that benefit estimate may be too low.

Look for the chart in your account showing your benefit amounts at different ages. Near the top, you should see an estimate for your average annual future salary. You can tap on that value to adjust the number and recalculate your benefit. You can also use this feature to understand how much impact your future salary would have on your benefit. Simply input different salary levels and see how your benefit changes.

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Who Is Eligible To Collect Social Security Retirement Benefits

Workers who are at least age 62 and who have worked at least 10 combined years at jobs for which they paid Social Security taxes are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. In many cases, spouses, widows and divorcees are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits based on a spouses or ex-spouses earnings history. Unmarried children 18 and younger can also get survivors benefits. You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful alien to collect benefits.

When Will You Collect

How to Estimate your Social Security Benefits | Your Retirement Authority

The SSA calculates your benefit amount at your full retirement age . This depends on the year you were born. FRA by birth year is:

  • 19431954: age 66
  • 1955: age 66 and two months
  • 1956: age 66 and four months
  • 1957: age 66 and six months
  • 1958: age 66 and eight months
  • 1959: age 66 and 10 months
  • 1960 and later: age 67

The monthly amount you are eligible to receive at your FRA is considered your full benefit, but it is not your minimum or maximum benefit.

You have the option to file for early retirement as early as age 62. But, you may choose to delay taking your benefits until as late as age 70.

There are many reasons why you might choose to take early retirement or to delay it. That choice has a direct impact on the amount of your monthly payment. If you opt for early retirement, you are choosing a lower monthly payment for the rest of your life. By choosing to delay your benefit to any age between your FRA and age 70, you lock in an increase.

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When To Apply For Benefits How Much Youll Get

AARP, Updated April 19, 2021

All the information presented is for educational and resource purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific or investment advice. We don’t guarantee the accuracy of the tool and suggest that you consult with your advisor regarding your individual situation.

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