Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Social Security unveils new earnings calculator

The Social Security Administration unveiled its new retirement estimator for people planning their retirement.

The new calculator will be followed this fall by an updated online application for benefits that Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue promises will reduce application time from the current 45-minute process to 15 minutes — and eliminate the need for follow-up visits to agency field offices.

Currently, workers get an annual benefit estimate mailed to them. It's based on prior earnings but assumes people's salary stays the same until retirement age. The online calculator supplements the annual mailing but won't replace it.

The online calculator permits future retirees to create a more accurate estimate of benefits since people can factor in a higher estimate of their upcoming earnings. People can also factor in different alternatives for retirement ages.

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