Social Security Benefits

This panel has four tabs. The first tab, Benefit Receipt, asks about Social Security retirement benefits receipt dates. You may begin by accepting the defaults for these dates, but most users are interested in learning how changing these receipt dates will impact their discretionary spending (and per-adult living standard). The dates are listed (per your birth date) for earliest, full, and latest retirement receipt date.

A typical strategy involves first using the full retirement age, running a report, and note the discretionary spending amount. You may next experiment with postponing Social Security to your latest retirement age and rerun the report. You may also use Maximize My Social Security to find the optimized benefit collection strategy.

The second tab solicits your projected future Social Security covered earnings as well as those of your spouse/partner. Covered Social Security employee wages are those wages that are subject to Social Security payroll taxation. If future covered wages are the same as those you entered in the Earnings Folder, click on Copy. Note that all wages from self-employment are covered already so you would NOT copy them. Self-employment earnings should not be copied to future SS covered earnings. ESPlanner derives this information from the projection of self-employment earnings provided in the Earnings Folder.

The third tab asks for past covered earnings. You can enter these values directly on the grid. You would get these numbers from your annual Social Security statement. The program uses past and projected future covered earnings to determine current and projected Social Security retirement benefits, survivor benefits, spousal benefits, divorcee benefits, and children benefits. You can create an account at and copy/paste your earnings history into this grid. Just "select all" (CTL-A) on the earnings list page and then return to this gird and click the "Paste Earnings Data" button.

The fourth tab asks you when you intend to begin Medicare.

This Social Security input screen asks you to specify the future dates of collection for your retirement benefit as well as Spousal Benefit or Widower Benefit.