How to Get Estimate of Social Security Retirement Benefits

The Social Security Administration makes it easy to estimate your retirement benefits so you can budget accordingly.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides estimates of your monthly retirement benefits based on your past income. The SSA's formula for calculating retirement benefits consists of the number of years you worked and the number of work credits you received each year. As of December 2012, the SSA provides one credit for each $1,130 you earn, up to a maximum of four credits per year. The estimates provided by the retirement benefit calculator can differ from your actual benefit amount due to cost-of-living increases, as well as annual earnings increases or decreases before you apply for benefits.

Step 1

Go to the Social Security website and click the "Estimate your retirement benefits" link in the panel on the left side of the page.

Step 2

Read the information about how the retirement benefit calculator works and click the "Estimate Your Retirement Benefits" button.

Step 3

Enter your name, any previous names, your mother's maiden name, your Social Security number, date of birth and place of birth on the next screen.

Step 4

Check the box to indicate your agreement to the terms and conditions of receiving your retirement benefit estimate online and click the "Submit" button.

Step 5

Enter last year's income on the next page. You can find this on line 7 of form 1040. Click the "Submit" button.

Step 6

Review your retirement benefit estimation information on the following page. The chart provides three estimates. The first is for retirement at age 62, the earliest you can start receiving retirement benefits. The second is for waiting until your full retirement age, which varies depending on the year you were born. The final estimate is if you wait until age 70 to retire.