The AP reports today at the San Francisco Chronicle, www.sfgate.com:
People planning for retirement got a new tool this week: a fast and easy online estimator for their Social Security benefits. The retirement benefit is usually the same as the amount paid for Social Security Disability.
The Social Security Administration unveiled its new retirement estimator on its Web site Monday. On it, it takes just a few points and clicks and some personal information to produce benefit estimates within a few minutes.
The new calculator will be followed this fall by an updated online application for benefits that Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue promises will reduce application time from the current 45-minute process to 15 minutes â€” and eliminate the need for follow-up visits to agency field offices.
“These initiatives will help us better handle the baby boomer wave and make it easier for the public to do business with us online,” Astrue said.
Currently, workers get an annual benefit estimate mailed to them. It’s based on prior earnings but assumes people’s salary stays the same until retirement age. The online calculator supplements the annual mailing but won’t replace it.