Social Security Calculator

Use our free Social Security calculator to estimate how much you’ll receive in Social Security benefits.

Matthew Jones Matthew Jones Writer and Editor
Jeff Hoyt Jeff Hoyt Editor in Chief

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How Does a Social Security Calculator Work?

The calculation for Social Security benefits is pretty simple. While the laws surrounding Social Security could always change in the future, the SSA currently bases your benefits on a few things:

  • Current age
  • Average income over a 35-year period
  • The number of years you paid Social Security tax
  • Your desired retirement age

While past earnings are used as the basis for calculating Social Security benefits, it’s also important to consider the timing of your retirement. Depending on when you retire, you could potentially increase or decrease your monthly Social Security check.

Money Tip:

Money Tip: Need help managing your funds before and during retirement? Check out our senior finance guide for our top tips and tricks.

When To Start Collecting Social Security

Workers who have paid Social Security tax on income for at least 10 years, as well as their spouses, widows, and ex-spouses, can generally begin collecting Social Security at 62. If you start collecting Social Security before your full retirement age, which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later, you won’t get 100% of your benefits.

While some people may prefer to start receiving their benefits as soon as possible, others might want to wait as long as possible to secure higher monthly payments. The table below will give you an idea of what to expect if you were born in 1960 or later and have an average annual income of $60,000. In this example, your spouse will be earning benefits based on your work history and collecting Social Security at the same age as you.

Retirement Age Full Retirement Age Monthly Benefit Spousal Benefit
62 67 $1,281 $640
63 67 $1,372 $686
64 67 $1,464 $732
65 67 $1,586 $793
66 67 $1,708 $854
67 67 $1,830 $915
68 67 $1,976 $988
69 67 $2,123 $1,061
70 67 $2,269 $1,134

Keep in mind that your benefits will not increase past age 70, so it is generally best to start collecting Social Security as soon as it reaches the maximum benefit.

How to Use Our Social Security Calculator

Our Social Security calculator makes it easy to estimate benefits for yourself and your spouse (if applicable). You just need to input the following information:

  • Current age
  • Anticipated retirement age
  • Average annual income
  • Social Security inflation rate
  • Spouse’s current age
  • Spouse’s retirement age
  • Spouse’s average annual income

Your “anticipated retirement age” actually refers to the age at which you plan to start collecting Social Security, not the age that you stop working. If you plan to retire at 60, for example, but don’t want to collect your Social Security until you’re 67, you should input 67. The same is true for your spouse’s retirement age.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? In 2023, the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit is $1,793.51.1

For average annual income, you can provide a ballpark figure based on what you know of your income during your highest earning years. Alternatively, if you want the most accurate results, you can pull out the tax returns and find the average from your highest-earning period of employment.

The only assumption you have to make for this calculation is the Social Security inflation rate. Fortunately, the SSA provides annual calculations of its inflation rates via the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), which can make your retirement planning a bit easier. Between 2023 and 2024, Social Security benefits increased by 3.2% to keep up with inflation.2

FAQs About Social Security Benefits

  • How much will I get from Social Security if I make $100,000?

    If $100,000 is your average income over 35 of your highest-earning working years and you plan to max out your benefits by collecting when you turn 70, you can expect to get about $3,253 per month from Social Security.

  • What is the highest Social Security payout possible?

    As of 2023, the highest monthly benefit you could get from Social Security is $4,555. Most older adults do not qualify for this amount, as it requires you to make an average income above $160,200 over a 35-year period.

  • What is the #1 reason to take Social Security at 62?

    If you’re struggling to pay bills, particularly medical bills, you might want to consider collecting Social Security as soon as it becomes available (at age 62). It’s generally not the best long-term strategy, but if these funds could help you live more comfortably without taking on a lot of expensive debt, consider taking Social Security at 62.

Citations
  1. Social Security Administration. (2023). Monthly Statistical Snapshot, September 2023.

  2. Social Security Administration. (2023). Latest Cost-Of-Living Adjustment.

Written By:
Matthew Jones
Writer and Editor
Matthew is a freelance writer who has written on a wide range of topics, from personal finance to nutrition. Over the past three years, Matthew has worked extensively on articles and guides for seniors related to Medicare, insurance, and finance…. Learn More About Matthew Jones
Reviewed By:
Jeff Hoyt
Editor in Chief
As Editor-in-Chief of the personal finance site MoneyTips.com, Jeff produced hundreds of articles on the subject of retirement, including preventing identity theft, minimizing taxes, investing successfully, preparing for retirement medical costs, protecting your credit score, and making your money last… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt
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