How to Check Social Security Benefits Online

Use Social Security online services to estimate your retirement benefits.

Whether your retirement is next week or years in the future, you can check the U.S. Social Security Administration website to learn about your retirement benefits and the amount of benefit you can expect. The site includes an estimator that asks for some basic data and then calculates an estimate of your monthly benefits after you retire. A basic idea of your retirement benefits is important when making financial plans for your future.

Step 1

Go to the Social Security Retirement Estimator website (see Resources section). Read the information on the screen for basic information on the Estimator. Click "Continue."

Step 2

Read the next screen to make sure you understand the legal implications of using the site. Click "I Agree" if you want to proceed with the Estimator.

Step 3

Type the information on the screen in the blanks provided. You must provide your name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, and your mother's maiden name. Click "Continue."

If you don't want to enter this personal information, the Social Security Administration provides an alternate benefits estimator that doesn't require it. However, the results will not be as accurate.

Step 4

Verify that the information you provided is correct. Click "Confirm" if the information is correct; click "Change Your Information" if you need to fix an error.

Step 5

Enter your gross income from the previous year. Click "Create Estimate." The estimator provides an estimated benefit amount for retirement at age 62 and at age 70. You can input different retirement ages and annual earnings to see how those changes would change the amount of your benefit.

Warning

You must have at least 40 Social Security credits (generally 10 years of earnings) to estimate your benefits. If you have fewer than 40 credits, you do not yet qualify for benefits.

The website does not guarantee that the estimated benefit amount will match the amount you'll actually receive when you retire. Your earnings can change between now and your retirement age, which would affect your benefits. And Congress might make changes to the Social Security system.

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