Five Resources to Prepare You for Retirement

May 8, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 3, 2023

woman on laptopSocial Security wants to help you prepare for a secure, comfortable retirement. “Security” is our middle name and we want everyone to enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor.

We mentioned before that being prepared when you retire can open new avenues of possibilities. Our website has tools and information to help you secure today and tomorrow. When it comes to retirement, we’ve got you covered with five important tools:

  1. Our Retirement Estimator provides estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Plug in different numbers, retirement dates, and scenarios to help you decide the best time for you to retire.
  1. Use our Retirement Planners to help you find your ideal retirement age, estimate your life expectancy and the amount of your benefits when you retire. You can see the financial effect of retiring at different ages will be, and how various earning amounts will affect future benefits.
  1. The Medicare section of our website provides information about the Medicare program and answers general questions on Medicare.
  1. Your personal my Social Security account is one of the most powerful tools available to secure your retirement. With a personal my Social Security  account, you can get your Social Security Statement that shows estimates of your future retirement or disability benefits, and the amount your family will receive in survivors benefits. You can check your earnings to verify the yearly amounts that we posted are correct. You can also get estimates of Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.
  1. Our online retirement application is an easy, convenient, and secure way to trail-blaze your way to retirement. You can complete it in as little as 15 minutes and, just like that, you can start the retirement of your dreams.

With these five resources, you can stay informed about your retirement options. Information is the first step toward achievement. Be ready for your next adventure!

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Tdan

    (My spouse is entitled to SS as he has worked over 35 years and is one year younger than I am)

  2. Tdan

    I have a complicated question, please. If I collect my SS at age 62 on my own work record, and then I divorce the same year that I collect my the SS, can I still collect on my ex-husband’s SS when I reach my full retirement age of 66 and four months? I would only receive $600 each month if I collect at age 62. Thank you

    • Jeff

      No you can not.

      Because your turned 62 after January 2nd 2016, you fall under the new rules call deemed filing.

      Basically it means you MUST file for every benefit that you are entitled to at ANY time you file.

      So if at 62 you file on your own record and your husband, or soon to be ex is already collecting you MUST, you HAVE TO file on his record at that time as well.

      You are not eligible to do the restricted application or “pick” which benefit you file for.

      Say your husband’s record is worth $1,500 and your record is worth $600.

      At 62 you would get 34.2% of your husband’s record or that would be approx. $513.

      So you are forced to file for both, in my case above you would get $513 off of your husband’s record and $87 off of your own record to EQUAL YOUR RECORD.

      It’s called dual entitlement or you receive two benefits to equal one record.

    • Ray F.

      If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record and divorced spouse’s benefits, we will pay the retirement benefit first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on your ex-spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. Please keep in mind that if your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on their record if you have been divorced for at least two years. See our Retirement Planner: If You’re Divorced for other eligibility requirements and more detailed information. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.


    SSA should always adhere to their dictims. For example the one on top of these articles states:
    “Social Security wants to help you prepare for a secure, comfortable retirement. “Security” is our middle name, and we want everyone to enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor”
    The above is well said. I absolutely fall for it, but many SSA officials do not believe in the above romantic and customer-service statement judging from their insensitivities to seniors in this country due to, perhaps, their lack of sufficient training about their duties, responsibilities and/or obligations. GOD HELP US, AMEN.

    • Jack M.

      Well said!!!!

  4. Brenda L.

    I received a letter on Saturday, May 6, 2017, asking me to call Terri H.(?spelling) at the Maryland WSU unit before May 8th. I have tried and tried to get in touch with that woman and she won’t answer her phone!! All I keep getting is an answering machine. I have left 3 messages but still no call back. The letter said they need to get some information from me before they can finish processing my application for retirement benefits. If she would have at least sent an email address, I could have forwarded her a copy of my last statement for the pension plan she’s seeking information about. Can someone PLEASE help me. I need to talk to a real person, not an answering machine.

    • John

      Look up the address and phone # of the Maryland WSU and either write to them or call them at the general #.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Brenda. We apologize for the inconvenience. We have referred your inquiry to our Operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.


    I did not apply for retirement in 2012, but Social Security just retired me when I asked for my Retirement Estimate. Instead of an estimate I got retirement benefit. I later knew the implications of this kind of atrocious early retirement. Some Social Security officials are always taking undue advantage of people who are not born in this country The same thing happened to my SSI benefits. Social Security stopped the SSI payment without giving me any reason for stopping it. I have written several times to correct this anomalies without success. Shockingly and surprisingly SSA officials in Chicago do not care to reply your letters when they are wrong or after their abusive behaviors.

    • John

      You have to by law apply for any benefits you are entitled to as early as possible if you are on SSI. That is why @ age 62 you were required to file for early retirement. SSI is welfare and the government is not going to send you welfare when you are entitled to social security @ age 62. I hope this clears it up for you.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your comment,Olatunji. We have strict guidelines that apply to individuals receiving benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. First of all, SSI beneficiaries are required to report their income or resources available to them. Also, we conduct “redeterminations” periodically to identify SSI recipients who –at any time- are potentially eligible for any or other Social Security benefits on their own record and the records of others (e.g., spouse’s, widow’s, or childhood disability benefits). If an SSI recipient is insured and qualifies on his or her own record for their own retirement benefit, they are required to apply at age 62. Failure to apply for additional benefits will result in suspension or termination of their SSI benefits. We hope this information is helpful.

      • OLATUNJI A.

        I thank you for your important and helpful comment. I will use every hints in your comment. Can you believe that SSA in Chicago has not paid my retirement benefits since June 2016 because I did not have a bank account to which the payment will deposited, whereas many people received their benefits receive their checks through their home addresses. Why then I am not qualified to get benefit checks through my home address? I have received numerous mails from SSA, Chicago on other subjects but my retirement benefits.are still withheld tightly.
        Does SSA need to reveal to individuals why their SSI benefits are being withheld or terminated? When the benefits were approved, the approval was communicated to successful individuals, it then makes sense to disclose your reasons for the stoppage.

  6. Debra

    Is there a difference in the Social Security Disability check amounts if I move WA state to CA.?

    • John

      No, but there could be a difference in a SSI check. SSI is based upon need like other welfare programs and is administered by Social Security. It is not Social Security.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Debra, both Social Security disability (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are federal administered programs and are transferable to other states. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits or SSDI, your benefit amount will stay the same. For SSDI, you can create a my Social Security account and simply change your address and direct deposit information online. However, if you are receiving SSI benefits, you must report the new address to the local Social Security office in the area. We hope this information helps!

  7. LESLY F.

    To Jim i was disable at age 46 years old i need to know if i am not quialify for ssdi i have 25 credits now i am 63 years old please let me know.

  8. Aleta

    I am 62 and a widow. I was married to my husband for nine years and he passed away. My question is can I draw from his social security until my full retirement even if I am working?

    • Jeff

      If you were still married and living together at his time of death, yes you certainly can get survivor benefits because you were married for over 9 months at the time of you husband’s death. As long as you didn’t re-marry before the age of 60, or if you did re-marry that marriage ended in death or divorce.

      You are eligible to start collecting survivor benefits off of his record as early as age 60.

      Here is the percentages that you can get off of your deceased husband’s record.

      At 62 you can get 81% of whatever your husband’s record is worth WHILE you are still working.

      One catch is YOU ARE under the same earnings limit, whether it is retirement on your own record or survivors of $16,920 per year.

      Any $2 dollars higher than that, Social Security would keep $1 in benefits as a penalty until you reached your Full Retirement Age or FRA at 66 years old.

      So, yes, you certainly sound like you are eligible to receive survivor benefits, it just matters on how much you are still earning while working.

      If you are making like $75,000 a yr you will not receive any survivor benefits because they will be wiped out by the earnings limit.

      It depends on how much your husband’s record is worth and exactly how much you make.

      Call the Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and schedule an appointment to apply.

  9. Tracey M.

    I have worked for the federal government for 36 years. I’m 55 years old and a widow/I receive DIC from the government. Will I be entitled to my husband social security??

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Tracey. A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies) can affect your Social Security benefits. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. Your spouse’s, divorced spouse’s, surviving divorced spouse’s or widow’s benefits under Social Security may be affected by the Government Pension Offset. We hope you find this information helpful.

      • Margarette

        I keep hearing different answers on this questions. I was married to my former spouse for 25 yrs. But now wer divorce. He has remarry , i did not . When i retired i wanted to filed against my former husband social security . I am receiving my own since i have worked . Question is , why can i not draw on my former spouse social security. Totally confused . Need help and the right answer , pls. Thank you .

        • Ray F.

          Thank you for contacting us Margarette. If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record and divorced spouse’s benefits, we will pay the retirement benefit first. If you qualify for a higher benefit amount on your ex-spouse’s record, you will get an additional amount so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. Sometimes, a person may be entitled as a retired worker on his/her own record and also as a spouse (divorced spouse) on another record. However, this individual’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest of either benefit amount to which they are entitled to. Please keep in mind that during your initial interview to apply for Social Security benefits, we are required to explore other eligibility criteria that could possibly pay you a higher benefit amount. Also, the new law: Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 effective April 30, 2016 made changes that could affect your situation. See “What do the Recent Social Security Claiming Changes Mean for Me” for more information. For a more detailed explanation of your case, you will need to speak to one of our representatives. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this helps.

  10. Anacleta V.

    I need your help i live in Angola my dream is live USA for my formation i want study in USA is possible your help me?

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