2008-07-25 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Calculate Your Benefits Online
By James Glasser Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Office

James Glasser James Glasser Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today unveiled a new online calculator at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator that will provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates to help people plan for their retirement. The Retirement Estimator is tied to a person's actual Social Security earnings record and eliminates the need to manually key in years of earnings information.

"Deciding when to retire is one of the most important and difficult decisions many people face," Commissioner Astrue said. "The Retirement Estimator greatly improves the information available when trying to decide the right time to retire. It is simple, easy-to-use and will provide highly accurate benefit estimates for those nearing retirement age. For younger workers, it will provide valuable information to help them plan and save for their retirement."

The Retirement Estimator is interactive allowing the user to compare different retirement options. For example, a person can change retirement dates or expected future earnings. Individuals also can print out up to three different scenarios at one time, in addition to information about their benefits at age 62 (current age if older), full retirement age and age 70.

Best of all, the Retirement Estimator is secure. The only thing it provides online is retirement benefit estimates. It does not show the earnings record information on which the final benefit estimate was calculated, nor does it reveal other personal information.

"The Retirement Estimator is just one of many things we are doing to make more information and services people need available over the Internet," Commissioner Astrue stated. "We recently unveiled a new home page at www.socialsecurity. gov that reduces visual clutter and is easier to navigate. Since its release, we have received many positive comments. In the fall, we will introduce the public to our next initiative: a total overhaul of our online retirement application that will reduce the average filing time from 45 minutes to about 15 minutes. These initiatives will help us better handle the baby boomer wave and make it easier for the public to do business with us online."

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