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SOCIAL SECURITY

SOCIAL SECURITY ONLINE BENEFITS PLANNER EXPANDS
TO PROVIDE ONE-STOP FINANCIAL PLANNING

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is expanding its online Planner - the electronic service that allows workers to compute estimates of their Social Security benefits online at SSA's internet site--www.ssa.gov. SSA's expanded online Benefits Planner now consists of a Retirement Planner, a Disability Planner and a Survivors Planner, each of which include a calculator to estimate benefits. An important new feature at the Planner is a link to the American Savings Education Council's Ballpark Estimate worksheet.

RETIREMENT PLANNING

SSA has added a link on the Benefits Planner to the Ballpark Estimate worksheet created by the American Savings Education Council (ASEC). Linking to the ASEC Ballpark Estimate worksheet provides users with one-stop retirement planning. It allows people to determine if they are saving enough for a comfortable retirement by combining their estimate of Social Security retirement benefits with estimates of their pensions and savings to determine if they are saving enough.

  • Most financial advisors say that people need about 70 percent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement. Social Security replaces only a portion of that amount-about 42 percent for the average worker.
  • Social Security is the foundation on which to build a stable financial future, but a comfortable retirement has always rested on a three-legged stool - Social Security, pensions and savings.
  • Based on current income, estimated Social Security benefit, employer pension and current savings and investments, the ASEC Planner shows how much additional savings will be needed to live a comfortable retirement.

RETIREMENT PLANNER

  • An Earnings Limit Calculator has been added. The calculator lets workers compute the effect of earnings on their Social Security retirement benefit.

DISABILITY AND SURVIVORS PLANNERS

Disability and Survivors Planners have been added to the online Benefits Planner.

  • Browsers can go directly to the planners for valuable information about disability and survivors benefits and factors that can effect them. Information is provided on issues such as military service, household earnings, and federal employment.
  • The planners walk individuals through the application process, provide important information on what documents are needed when applying for benefits, other potential benefits for the worker or family members, and how and where to apply for benefits.

CALCULATORS

The Social Security Benefits Planner continues to provide individuals with three options for obtaining an estimate of their Social Security retirement benefit. The Quick and Online Calculators now also provide estimates for disability and survivors benefits. The disability and survivors benefit estimates are always based on the assumption that the worker became disabled or died today.

  1. The Quick Calculator produces a very rough estimate that only requires a worker to provide their age and current earnings. Retirement benefit estimates are provided for reduced retirement at age 62, full retirement age and age 70. Disability benefit estimates are provided for the worker and survivors benefit estimates are provided for the surviving spouse and children.
  1. The Online Calculator produces a benefit estimate based on past, present and projected future earnings data that is input by the worker. The worker can create various scenarios such as when they plan to retire and how much they expect to earn in the future. Disability benefit estimates are provided for the worker and survivors benefit estimates are provided for the surviving spouse and children.
  1. For the Detailed and most elaborate estimate, a worker can download and install a software program on their personal computer (PC). The interactive program allows workers the most flexibility to customize their estimates based on differing scenarios and produces a variety of benefit numbers for retirement, survivors and disability benefits for a worker and his/her family.

    NOTE: To maintain privacy and to protect records from unauthorized users, none
    of the calculators are linked to individual earnings records or any other information in SSA's database. All benefit estimates are based strictly on input from the users.

The enhancements to the online Benefits Planner provide valuable information and links that will allow workers to better prepare and plan for their future financial security.

Note: Copies of Commissioner's speeches, SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information
and statistics, are available at SSA’s Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.ssa.gov.
Also look there for information on subscribing to SSA’s
free electronic newsletter, Social Security e-news.
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