General, Online Services, Retirement

Get Educated about Your Social Security Benefits

January 7, 2016 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

A photograph of a mentor educating two students in front of a computer monitor.Summer’s just a memory, the days are cooler, and children are comfortably settling in their back-to-school routines. You should take this time to “hit the books” and learn more about what Social Security offers at our website.

If you’ve been to our website before, you’ll notice the new homepage is even better. We redesigned it based on your feedback. The top suggestion we received was to list all of our content on one page so that’s what you’ll see when you visit www.socialsecurity.gov. You’ll now find it’s easier than ever to find what you want without reading through a lot of links.

The new home page is also easier for mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. Everything on the home page is accessible regardless of the browser used to access our site.

We want to answer all your burning questions about Social Security, so we’ve redesigned our frequently asked questions (FAQ) site as well at www.faq.socialsecurity.gov to make it easier to find the answers you need. Here you’ll find a link to the most popular FAQ’s as well as topics categorized by subjects such as “Medicare,” “Social Security Number and Card,” and “Same-Sex Couples.”

In launching the new FAQ site, we consolidated about 500 topics to less than 200 and revised the language to be clearer and more easily understood. This year, our redesigned FAQ site won the “Clear Mark Award for Distinction” from the Center for Plain Language.

Whether you’re starting to think about retirement, or if it’s far in the future, a good place to begin is with Social Security’s benefit planners at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. Here you can use our planners to help you understand how Social Security can provide for your financial future through retirement, survivors, and disability benefits.

Our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator is a great tool to help you know how much in Social Security benefits to expect. After entering a few pieces of information, the Estimator makes use of your reported wages from years past and projects your current earnings in the future to give you an instant, personalized estimate of your future benefits. You can change the variables, such as the date you expect to retire and your future earnings, to see what you can expect in different scenarios.

For a more accurate picture of what you’ll receive from Social Security, you’ll want to join the nearly 20 million individuals who have registered for a my Social Security  account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Registering only takes a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to view your earnings history, get an estimate of your benefit amount at retirement, and print your Social Security Statement.

If you’re truly ready to say goodbye to the daily grind, then it’s exciting to know that retirement is only a few clicks away. You can retire at www.socialsecurity/applyonline from the comfort of your favorite reclining chair or while sipping a drink at your local Wi-Fi hotspot. In most instances, there are no papers to sign or documents to provide and the process only takes a few minutes.

Thanks for cracking the books with us! Just know that wherever you are on life’s journey, you can count on Social Security’s online resources to help!


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Comments

  1. Neal D.

    Still fighting for my benefits! You know growing up in America back in the 60’s was awesome you really had a sense of pride for your country and I always said that this was the greatest country in the world . But what I have been through is far from great. I have had diabetes for almost 30yrs and suffer greatly everyday because of it. Both legs have severe nourapathy and hands as well. I also suffer from depression and bi-polar . My wife and live off 11,000 dollars a yr. I think after paying into the systems for more than 25 yrs should entitled me to something.DENIEDand denied and denied . I think I will be lucky to make another 2 yrs of living so by the looks of it I probably wont get a red cent . What a shame in the united states .. WE REALLY NEED HELP. thank you

  2. Nelson M.

    Banned social security benefits that will expire
    May 1 2016, is this true?

  3. Deb

    I have invasive stage 2 triple her2 positive breast cancer,I applied for Sssi 11 months ago an I still have not gotten a decision yet,Why is it taking so long

    • Ray F.

      The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can vary depending on several factors, such as the nature of your disability and how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources. See “How The Disability Process Works” for more information. If you were initially denied and appealed the decision, a final determination will take longer. Please continue working with your local office if you have specific questions about your claim. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  4. mary

    I am on disability due to mental and physical problems which don’t permit me to work. I am 59. Do I refile when I am 66? I asked at the office of SS and they said they didn’t know.
    About the COLA increase, we did get an increase the last presidential election year. I know its hard for everyone. We all should have run for office cause they get the best benefits.

  5. wiliam p.

    I currently receive SS benefits but my wife will not start receiving hers until late 2016. I have seen headlines about a change in benefits under a law passed in October 2015 and the possibility of taking advantage of those changes expiring April 30 2016. However, I have not seen any definitive explanation of that law or how to take advantage of that change before the window closes April 30 2016.
    Please give me a resource to read for a clear, concise explanation of this law and how I should act to take full advantage of it.

    • Susan

      maximizing your social security is a subscription website that could help you.

  6. Rick b.

    I’ll probably get a lot of disagreement on my following comment, but…….
    I am looking at retiring this year though may stick it out until January 2017 and have been “playing” with all the numbers which includes my SS benefit (estimate) and dollars from my 401k plan (still an estimate depending on investments) and am planning to fund a dental & vision care plan. Neither of these plans seem to charge more based on someone’s age. Many people complain about what they get or don’t get from SS or Medicare. Does planning on your part come into play? I’m 64 and have been saving something in some type of a retirement plan since I was 22 years old. In the beginning of my working years I saved a minimal amount and as the years went on I got my savings up to 10%…….I see now that maybe I should had more foresight and saved more but at least I saved. My retirement should be fine. I won’t be “rich” but should be able to carry on as if I was still working. Many people blame the Government or Corporations for the minimal dollar amount that they’ll get in retirement but maybe some of that blame goes back to them. I realize that some people can’t save for many reasons but for the masses of people who have spent much more money on drinking , smoking and gambling than the average person……that’s the money you could have saved for retirement.

    • Susan

      true, you should have saved and not depended on a government that spends more than it takes in.

      • Marc

        Well, thank you, Mr Perfect.

    • JudyMac

      My thoughts exactly! And, I’ve followed the same path as you did and I’m enjoying a comfortable retirement because I planned for it and sacrificed to achieve it. And it never occurred to me that the “Government” was going to take care of everything I needed. I’ve also spent the last several years as a volunteer assisting seniors dealing with Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security issues at our local Senior Center. A good majority of those I assisted were eligible for Government (i.e. taxpayer) assisted housing, food stamps and having their Medicare premiums paid based on their “income” yet they are also the same ones who never miss going on our “casino trips” and spend several days playing slot machines or other forms of gambling. Personal responsibility appears to be something that is missing today.

      • Marc

        How nice for you that your life turned out exactly the way you’d planned. Doesn’t work that way for everyone, unfortunately. And that does NOT make you any better than anyone else – only more smug. But don’t worry – there’s still time for catastrophe to strike your idyllic little life. Here’s hoping it’s really nasty, just like you.

    • Marc

      What jerks you people are who criticize others . . . Ever occur to you that sometimes things don’t go the way you planned? I saved, I made big bucks, and I had a pretty sizeable 401k. And a house I could afford easily. First, the stock market crashed in 2008 and poof! HALF my 401k was GONE. 2 years later I was diagnosed with an incurable, progressive, crippling, terminal disease and the day I shared that information with my employer of 15 years I was FIRED. I lived off my savings and then my 401k (what was left of it) while I waited for the private disability policy I’d PAID FOR for 20 years to approve me. Took over a year and by then, because I was HONEST and paid my bills, AND because I had no health insurance since there was no ACA and my coverage ended with my job and before the ACA I COULDN’T get any with a pre-existing condition, everything was GONE to living and horrendous medical bills. I lost my house, was forced to file bankruptcy, and now have nothing but Social Security to live on. (The private disability guys terminated that coverage after 2 years, claiming my disability ‘wasn’t covered’ any more). So before you all get on your self -righteous high horses, remember this could happen to you too. And frankly, I hope it does, because maybe that would teach you some empathy. Jerks.

      • lee

        Everyone has a story. Yes, things do happen that are out of our control. I too have lost everything. What is in my control is….how I react.
        I would never, ever, wish for anyone to go through what I have endured, and currently endure.
        The policy and procedures of Medicare absolutely need attention.
        As always…I encourage everyone to get involved and communicate as often as possible with your Local Area Representation.
        Your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
        We’re all going to have to do this in order to make it happen.
        And yes….I do write, email, vote, sign petition’s, attend meetings, etc etc etc…as often as possible under my circumstance. For the Greater Good.
        ? ?✌❤??

  7. Former E.

    The formula used to determine the amount of the cost-of-living increase (COLA) was based on laws passed by Congress, and it was Congress that excluded most dental procedures when they created the Medicare program.

    Although it would be great to have that coverage, keep in mind that the Medicare trust fund is already in danger of running out of funds, and that will happen even sooner than for the Retirement or Disability trusts. Adding dental coverage without additional revenue would just dig Medicare into the hole even faster. Like it or not, we cannot ignore those facts, and Congress needs deal with this situation as it is, not as it “should” be.

    • Charlie M.

      The U.S. Labor Dept. is the one that determine whether of not we get a raise … NOT CONGRESS.
      The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. BLS has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, and not a straightforward alternative to the CPI. A cost-of-living index would measure changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain utility level or standard of living. Both the CPI and a cost-of-living index would reflect changes in the prices of goods and services, such as food and clothing, that are directly purchased in the marketplace; but a complete cost-of-living index would go beyond this role to also take into account changes in OTHER GOVERNMENTAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL (If a drought they say is caused by Global Warming then high prices are not counted) FACTORS that affect consumers’ well-being. It is very difficult to determine the proper treatment of public goods, such as safety and education, and other broad concerns, such as health, water quality, and crime, that would constitute a complete cost-of-living framework.

    • Susan

      those laws were based on a formula for the 1960’s not for the 2000’s, if you want change, change the people in the government.

      • alan p.

        Fine—how do we get those republicans out of congress??

        • Marc

          Gee, can you say VOTE DEMOCRATS???

  8. RUSSELL S.

    greengiant1958@gmail.com RUSSELL S. HANSEN
    ARE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS GOING TO ”STOP” APRIL 30 -2016 ? ON MY NEXT BIRTH DAY
    AT AGE 58 ? . I ”NEED’ ”MOUTH IMPLANTS ” ASAP
    I HAVE ”HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE ‘ THAT IS GOING
    TO GO TO ”MY HEART’AND ‘MY BRAIN ‘AND ”KILL
    ME” AND I HAVE A BLEEDING HEMORROID AND
    ATHLETES FOOT WHITE FUNGUS THAT I SCRAPE
    OFF AND I CLEAN WITH SKIN WIPES AND PAPER
    TOWELS .I DON’T ”EAT””MUCH FOOD ”AS I ”NEED
    TO EAT OR WANT TO ”EAT”..”MY TEETH ARE DECAYING –I WENT TO -TWO DENTISTS -I SAW
    THE XRAYS-I ‘NEED FULL MOUTH IMPLANTS LESS ONE TOOTH IMPLANT -”MY” ”BODY” IS ”WAITING TO ”DIE ”–”MY” AGE IS ”NOW” 57 – 58 -BORN APRIL 30-1958 -2AM ..”MY BODY ” TELLS
    ”ME ” –I CAN BE ”MUCH ” STRONGER ” WITH MOUTH IMPLANTS ‘ ASAP AND ‘BODY BUILDING
    PROTEIN POWDERS AND PILLS TO BUILD ”MY ”
    HEALTH TO BECOME ”MUCH STRONGER ”–
    greengiant1958@gmail.com RUSSELL S. HANSEN
    PLEASE ”SHARE ” ”THESE ” COMMENTS WITH
    ”MORE ” ”HUMANS ” ON PLANET EARTH –I AM A
    ”HUMAN ” IN SEATTLE ,WA USA ”TYPING” ‘THESE’
    ”WORDS ” FOR ”YOU” TO ”READ” ON ”MY COMPUTER ” WITH A LOT OF ”PAIN” ”WAITING ”TO ”KILL ME ”..THANK ”YOU” FOR ”READING”
    ”THESE” ”WORDS ” 1-08-16 FRI.6;40 AM SEATTLE,WA USA TIME .greengiant1958@gmail.com
    greengiant1958@gmail.com RUSSELL S. HANSEN
    greengiant1958@gmail.com RUSSELL S. HANSEN

  9. Sharon D.

    Instead of looking at what you not getting; Be thankful that they have not taken away what you are already getting! Everything is what it is. You have the freewill to accept it or reject it.Your lip hanging ain’t gonna change nothing, but the way you look. AMEN

  10. Julie

    First of all you need to learn how the government works. The Congress are the ones who voted down the COLA and they are attempting to take away SS and Medicare. This is why there is no raise for us this year. It is very easy to look up. Also, please watch http://www.houselive.gov to find out what really goes on in congress instead of relying on news and social media. I will just leave this here……..

    • Charlie M.

      Congress has nothing to do with COLA (cost-of-living-index). Its the U.S.Dept. Labor. Here how they determine it:
      The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. BLS has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, and not a straightforward alternative to the CPI. A cost-of-living index would measure changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain utility level or standard of living. Both the CPI and a cost-of-living index would reflect changes in the prices of goods and services, such as food and clothing, that are directly purchased in the marketplace; but a complete cost-of-living index would go beyond this role to also take into account changes in OTHER GOVERNMENTAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL (If a drought they say is caused by Global Warming then high prices are not counted) FACTORS that affect consumers’ well-being. It is very difficult to determine the proper treatment of public goods, such as safety and education, and other broad concerns, such as health, water quality, and crime, that would constitute a complete cost-of-living framework.

      • Marc

        WRONG. The COLA INDEX is determined by the Department of Labor but the CONGRESS DECIDES IF SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS GET A RAISE BASED ON THAT COLA INDEX!! If you’re proficient enough to find and read a government website you’re definitely able to find and read the rest of them – like, try watching the VIDEOS of the Congressional VOTES – yes, you can actually SEE AND HEAR these guys denying us a cost of living increase. I’m outraged too, but I’m at least bright enough, and HONEST enough to blame the correct party!!!! If you don’t know the facts you really ought to refrain from making FALSE claims at the very least.

    • Susan

      the more you vote in the same ole people the more you get the same ole same ole. change will never happen unless it happens with you.

      • Charlie M.

        Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez is the one that says if we get a raise or not.

        Nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in on July 23, 2013, Thomas E. Perez is the nation’s 26th secretary of labor. He has committed to making good on the promise of opportunity for all, giving every working family a chance to get ahead, and putting a middle-class life within reach of everyone willing to work for it. I think he is as big of liar as Obama.

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