Social Security Calculator

A Social Security calculator can give you an estimate of your monthly or annual retirement benefits. Estimating the amount of your Social Security benefits can help you determine how much you will need from other retirement savings and investments to meet your financial goals.

Terry Turner, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Terry Turner

    Terry Turner

    Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator

    Terry Turner has more than 35 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).

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  • Edited By
    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury, editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial content editor for RetireGuide and has over three years of marketing experience in the finance industry. She has written copy for both digital and print pieces ranging from blogs, radio scripts and search ads to billboards, brochures, mailers and more.

    Read More
  • Financially Reviewed By
    Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®, CRPC®, CSRIC®, RICP®
    headshot of Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP

    Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®, CRPC®, CSRIC®, RICP®

    Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®, CRPC®, CSRIC®, RICP®, is the founder and chief executive officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. She is a past spokesperson for the AARP Financial Freedom campaign and has extensive expertise in the fields of financial planning, personal finance, retirement and investing.

    Read More
  • Published: March 7, 2023
  • Updated: June 27, 2023
  • 7 min read time
  • This page features 4 Cited Research Articles
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Fact Checked

A qualified expert reviewed the content on this page to ensure it is factually accurate, meets current industry standards and helps readers achieve a better understanding of retirement topics.

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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Turner, T. (2023, June 27). Social Security Calculator. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/benefits/calculator/

MLA Turner, Terry. "Social Security Calculator." RetireGuide.com, 27 Jun 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/benefits/calculator/.

Chicago Turner, Terry. "Social Security Calculator." RetireGuide.com. Last modified June 27, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/benefits/calculator/.

This Social Security calculator allows you to estimate how much you’ll receive from Social Security when you retire — adjusting the fields with your information might give you a better understanding of what your financial future could look like.

This calculator can also help you decide the best time to retire to maximize your Social Security benefits. In addition, it can help you determine how much you will need to receive from other sources to meet your financial needs and goals in retirement.

It only provides an estimate. The actual amount of your retirement benefits can vary depending on your actual work history and income.

What Can Our Social Security Calculator Tell You?

The RetireGuide Social Security Calculator will give you an estimate of your Social Security benefits based on your current annual income.

More than 50 American retirees or their dependents receive Social Security benefits every month — including nearly nine out of every 10 people 65 and older in the United States.

Social Security can form a foundation for financial security in retirement, but Social Security retirement benefits may be only a fraction of your current annual earnings.

This calculator can give you a starting point to consider other retirement planning options to guarantee your financial future.

Calculator Limitations

While this calculator provides an estimate of your Social Security retirement benefits, it does not reflect the exact amount you will receive.

The actual amount of your Social Security benefits depend on the year you were born and your lifetime earnings record.

This calculator bases its estimate on your current annual income and other information you provide. It does not access your earnings record over the course of your working life. The estimate does not consider changes in your earnings between now and your retirement.

Who Can Collect Social Security Benefits?

There are certain requirements to collect Social Security benefits.

To be eligible for Social Security benefits you must be:
  • Age 62 or older or
  • Disabled or
  • Blind

In addition, you have to be “insured” under Social Security — which means you have to have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. You earn one work credit for every quarter (three months) you work and pay Social Security taxes.

n 2023, you earn one credit for every $1,640 in covered earnings each year. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year. For example, by earning $6,560, you receive four credits, the maximum amount available in one year.

The number of work credits required to receive disability benefits varies by age. You need a minimum of six work credits regardless of age.

You need 40 work credits — 10 years of paying Social Security taxes — to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

Your spouse or dependents may qualify based on your work record. In that case, they do not need work credits.

How Do You Calculate Estimated Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration — or SSA — uses a complex formula to calculate each person’s benefits. It takes into account lifetime earnings over 35 years of your life. The exact amount of your monthly benefit isn’t determined until you start collecting Social Security.

The formula relies on average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and the National Average Wage Index (NAWI) to compute your primary insurance amount (PIA) and determine your monthly benefit amount.

Elements of the Social Security Formula
Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME)
SSA analyzes up to 35 years of your earnings record. It determines a set number of years to use and chooses those years with the highest indexed earnings. It then adds up those earnings and divides them by the number of months in the years used. SSA then rounds the average amount down to the next lower dollar amount.
National Average Wage Index (NAWI)
The NAWI tracks wage growth among American workers as a measure of inflation.
Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)
SSA adds up three separate percentages of different portions in the AIME. This formula is defined by law, but the dollar amount in the formula changes yearly based on the national average wage index.

The PIA is the benefit that individuals are eligible to receive at FRA. The Social Security Administration bases your monthly benefits on the PIA. But, it may be higher or lower than the PIA depending on when you decide to start collecting your benefits.

Does When You Begin Collecting Benefits Impact Your Social Security?

The amount of Social Security retirement benefits you receive can vary widely depending on when you decide to start collecting them. Waiting until after full retirement age to claim benefits can result in significantly higher payments from Social Security.

Full retirement age varies depending on the year you were born. But for everyone born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.

You can take early retirement at 62 and start claiming Social Security benefits. But they will be much less than if you waited until full retirement age. They will be even higher if you wait until you turn 70 to claim Social Security benefits.

After 70, the amount will remain the same regardless of how long you wait to start collecting them.

Example of monthly social security benefits
Example of Monthly Benefits Based on Age You Start Collecting Social Security
AgeAmount
62$1,995
65 & 3 months$2,477
67$2,817
68 & 10 months$3,130
70 and older$3,513
Source: Social Security Administration

Based on the average future annual salary of $62,000 for a worker born in 1960 or later.

You can take your benefits early, but the Social Security Administration reduces the amount 0.05% for each month you start receiving benefits before you reach full retirement age — age 67 in this example.

As illustrated, your benefits will continue to increase each month you wait until you turn 70. This could be one reason to delay your collections.

In this example, if you wait until you turn 70, your monthly benefit check would be 24% higher than at full retirement age and 76% more than if you started collecting benefits when first eligible at 62.

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Benefits

What is Social Security?
Social Security is a federal insurance program managed by the United States government. It provides benefits to people who are retired or unable to work because of a disability. Social Security may also support your spouse or other legal dependents in the event of your death.
How is Social Security funded?
Most of the costs of Social Security are funded through payroll deductions. Employers and employees each pay 6.2% of wages — up to the first $160,200 they earn in 2023. Self-employed workers pay the full 12.4% of their earnings. The money goes into two Social Security trust funds — the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund pays out retirement, spousal and survivor benefits while the Disability Insurance trust fund pays disability benefits. Money from dedicated payroll taxes cover about 90% of Social Security’s costs with the rest coming from interest the trust funds earn, taxes people pay on their Social Security benefits and reimbursements from the U.S. Treasury.
Is everyone eligible for Social Security benefits?
To be eligible to receive Social Security benefits you must be 62 years of age or older or disabled or blind. You must also have enough credits on your individual earnings record. The number of work credits needed to qualify varies based on your age.
Last Modified: June 27, 2023

4 Cited Research Articles

  1. USA.gov. (2023, January 5). Top Questions About Social Security. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/about-social-security
  2. U. S. Social Security Administration. (2022). How Is Social Security Financed? Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/HowAreSocialSecurity.htm
  3. U. S. Social Security Administration. (2022). Understanding Supplemental Security Income Social Security Entitlement — 2022 Edition. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-entitle-ussi.htm
  4. National Academy of Social Insurance. (n.d.). How Do Benefits Compare to Earnings? Retrieved from https://www.nasi.org/learn/social-security/how-do-benefits-compare-to-earnings/