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applying for SS retirement benefits - Tips (add your own!)

I applied for my retirement benefits about 5 weeks ago. No problem with that. But what surprised me is that the "estimated benefits" that I've been used to seeing for years suddenly disappeared when my application was received. I don't see any particular rationale for that other than the administration doesn't want applicants to complain if their actual benefit is not exactly the same as the estimated benefit. I can see this happening.

 

So here is my tip:

 

Take a screenprint of your estimated benefit just before you submit the application, corresponding to your application age, etc. Keep this safe for later review.

 

 

Of course, there are many explanations as to why the estimated and actual may not match, either "precisely" or "grossly different". I would be more concerned about a gross discrepancy than if there was some small dollar difference.

 

If you really want to get into this you can download/install the anypia32.exe program that the SSA publishes. Entering your entire wage history (which is available on your My Social Security log in), age and dates, etc, you can get a very precise estimate of your benefit. So if there were to be some gross discrepancy this would be a good place to start to investigate, use your wage history and the anypia32 program to calculate the expected benefit. For me, this always matched perfectly with the estimated benefit in My Social Security.

My second tip:

 

It was really easy to apply for old age benefits on the My Social Security website (your official account at the SS Administration). You can later log in and check for the progress of your application.

 

 

Add your own tips below!

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