How to Check On Your Social Security Benefits

Written by , September 9, 2013

How to Check On Your Social Security BenefitsEven though the future health and viability of the Social Security program has been called into question, it’s unlikely that Social Security retirement benefits will disappear entirely. Furthermore, even if you have a sizable retirement nest egg you still need to understand how much income you can expect to receive from all the sources you have available, including Social Security.

As you save for retirement and making your savings plans it’s important to know how much Social Security you’ll receive when you retire, regardless of where you are in the process.

Here is some retirement advice on how you can estimate your social security benefits.

  • Review Your Current Statement. If you currently receive retirement benefits or are on Medicare then you can review your latest benefit statement. This will show you your benefit and payment information, as well as your earnings record.
  • Create an Account With the SSA. You can also create an account with the Social Security Administration (SSA) at https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do. In order to better understand your benefits. To create an account you’ll need an email address, your social security number, and a U.S. mailing address. Once you’ve created your account you can review: estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; your earnings record; and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.
  • Use the SSA Retirement Estimator Tool. The SSA also provides a social security estimating tool if you aren’t yet receiving benefits. You can use the tool if you have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits and you are not currently receiving benefits, waiting for a decision about your application for benefits or Medicare, and are not eligible for pension based on work not covered by Social Security.
    • Note that the retirement estimator tool can be a bit challenging to use. You have limited time to stay on each page and there are a few limitations. To prepare to use the estimator tool consider perusing the brief guide on how to use it. The retirement estimator and a link to the guide can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/estimator/.
  • Use the Different SSA Benefit Calculators. You can explore the possibilities by using online tools and calculators to get a rough estimate of your future Social Security benefits. You can find several detailed calculators at the main Social Security website, http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm.
    The basic calculator provides a simple, rough estimate when you input your date of birth and this year’s earnings. A more detailed calculator provides precise estimates. You can download it onto your computer and use it to estimate your benefits. It’s important to note that these calculators do not link to your actual Social Security earnings record; they’re merely estimating tools.
  • Social Security benefits can be an important part of your retirement planning and savings. Knowing what to expect can help you make the best decisions for your retirement future.

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