Knowing how much retirement income you might receive from Social Security may help you decide when to begin claiming benefits, and how Social Security might fit into your overall retirement income plan.
One way to get an estimate of your future Social Security benefits is to use the benefit calculators available on the Social Security Administration website, ssa.gov. You can estimate your retirement benefit based on your actual earnings record using the Retirement Estimator calculator, then create different scenarios based on current law that will illustrate how different earnings amounts and retirement ages will affect the benefit you receive.
For example, based on the information you input and your actual earnings history as maintained by the Social Security Administration, the Retirement Estimator generates an estimate of the reduced benefit you would receive if you were to claim benefits at age 62 (the earliest age you can receive benefits), the amount if you waited until full retirement age (which currently ranges from 66 to 67, based on year of birth), and the larger benefit you would receive if you waited until age 70 before claiming retirement benefits. Other benefit calculators are also available that can help you estimate disability and survivor benefits.
You can also sign up for a my Social Security account so that you can view your online Social Security Statement. Your statement contains a detailed record of your earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. If you're not registered for an online account and are not yet receiving benefits, you'll receive a statement in the mail every year, starting at age 60.