SSA to launch online retirement estimator

The Social Security Administration will make an online calculator available July 19 for people to calculate estimates of their  retirement benefits based on SSA records and user information.

The Retirement Estimator is designed to determine payments for people at specific points, such as at full retirement age, said Michael Astrue, SSA commissioner. The system also lets users submit scenarios based on information they enter about future earnings and retirement dates, he said in a May 13 notice in the Federal Register.

SSA is modernizing its infrastructure and services to help more aging workers apply for retirement benefits, find information and conduct transactions online.

SSA has four other benefit calculators on its Web site. The Quick Calculator provides a simple, rough estimate based on user-entered date of birth and current-year earnings. For more precise estimates, the other calculators require the user to have access to his or her Social Security statement to manually key each year of their lifetime earnings for use in the benefit computation.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index Surveys indicate that fewer than 25 percent of users have their Social Security statement available when using the calculators, so 75 percent of users cannot immediately determine their retirement benefits with the current calculators. The Retirement Estimator will close that gap, he said.

“The Retirement Estimator calculator will provide a safe, user-friendly and convenient tool that will contribute to financial literacy by helping members of the public plan for retirement, help to promote SSA's online benefit application and save agency resources,” Astrue said

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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