Updating the Social Security Benefit Calculator

Updating the Calculator

You can keep the benefit calculator up-to-date by adding the annually announced automatic changes to the benefit increases and wage-related amounts. Those figures are updated annually in mid October.

If you prefer, you can download the new version of the calculator with the new amounts built in (normally available in November). It is usually preferable to download the new version of the calculator (currently 2017.1), because in addition to the automatic changes, it has enhancements to the user interface and/or the calculations.

The 2016 update

The Social Security automatic cost-of-living adjustment for December 2016 and the wage-indexed amounts for 2017 were announced on October 18, 2016. More information on these automatic adjustments is available.

The 2016.1 or 2016.2 versions of the Social Security Benefit Calculator can be updated to include the newly announced amounts. The amounts required for updating the 2016 versions of the Social Security Benefit Calculator are as follows:

  • Cost-of-living adjustment for December 2016: 0.3 percent
  • National average wage index for 2015: $48,098.63
  • Contribution and benefit base for 2017: $127,200
  • "Old-law" contribution and benefit base for 2017: $94,500

To update a 2016 version of the calculator, choose Properties from the main menu, then Historical Amounts, then Update. If the dialog box that appears requests amounts for 2017, enter the above amounts. If it requests amounts for 2018 or later, then the amounts for 2017 computations have already been entered. In that case, press Cancel, then choose Properties, Historical Amounts, and Modify. In the dialog box that appears, press Next Year or Previous Year until it requests amounts for 2017 computations. Then enter the above amounts.

When you are ready to use the newly entered amounts, choose Properties from the main menu, then Computation Year. In the dialog box that appears, enter 2017.

The calculator will now produce 2017-style estimates, except that the stored assumptions (from the 2016 or older Trustees Report) will not be updated. To have a fully up-to-date calculator, you should download the new version.

Questions or comments

Questions or comments about the Detailed Calculator? Be sure to specify the "Detailed Calculator" in your message so we know to which calculator your question or comment refers.