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Old 11-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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Social Security Retirement Calculator

Benefits Calculators: About the Social Security Retirement Estimator
I recently received my Social Security Statement in the mail and it got me thinking about SS estimates. I remembered something about additional credits being added for certain years of military service, so I tried to find out if these were factored into the estimates I received. NO real joy there. It says it is OR will be done automatically when you apply for benefits. Sooo, anyways I run the calculator estimator and it comes back with different results from what my statement shows. Hmm.... +$33 at 62; +43 at 65; +$57 at 70... Could this be the elusive additional military credit OR just some kind of a COLA difference between my statement dated on 6 Nov and now. I know it isn't additional income, since I haven't earned any in the last 7 yrs. Anyone else use the estimator and get different results from their statements?

BTW: For those still working the estimator lets you run some additional scenarios of stopping work prior(after) to 62 and seeing the effects on benefits. Nice what ifs...
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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Seems like the SSA updates things in October, and according to their website the updated calculator is generally available November 1. This is for the calculator, not the estimator -- didn't check to see when the estimator gets updated. Do you think it might be possible that your statement was produced before the update, and the estimator has already been updated for next year?
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:50 PM   #3
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Calculator is +$54 at 62, +$86 at Full and +$126 at 70.

The figures are only 3% higher, so as an estimate I'm not worried by the difference.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:04 PM   #4
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Yes Alan, mine are less than 3% difference too. (Measure with a micrometer -- mark with chalk -- cut with ax)
Since there is NO 2010 cola - I doubt that accounts for any difference between now and two weeks ago.
Still curious... The "estimator" is supposedly drawn from my record and not just a stab in the dark.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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JustNTime,
I'm searching for a thread we had about 2-3 years ago that discussed the military pay/SS interrelation, but can't find it. I can't recall the exact name of this SS offset/catchup,but if you know it and do a search (Use words retirement, Social Security, nords, XXXXXname of special pay thingee offsetXX) I think you'll find something useful.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:59 PM   #6
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This might be of some help: Special SS credit for military service
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
JustNTime,
I'm searching for a thread we had about 2-3 years ago that discussed the military pay/SS interrelation, but can't find it. I can't recall the exact name of this SS offset/catchup,but if you know it and do a search (Use words retirement, Social Security, nords, XXXXXname of special pay thingee offsetXX) I think you'll find something useful.
I did a search and even followed a link, but it ended in a link not found. NOT sure how long the archives are here. I know I remember doing my own calculations once upon a time in a spreadsheet, but that was a very long time ago.

I just found an old tax return and the amounts on the SS statement do NOT appear to be adjusted for the mil service credit. IF the 'Estimator' was adjusting then that would explain the difference and solve my mystery. Except of course I was hoping for a bigger boost after 25yrs in. I guess I'll just have to wait 7yrs to see....
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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This is from the page at REWahoo's link:

Quote:
NOTE: Social Security will add these extra earnings to your earnings record when you file for retirement or disability benefits. You may be asked to provide proof of military service at that time. You do not need to take any action prior to applying for your Social Security benefits . . . .

If you served in the military in 1978 through 2001, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year, for every $300 in active duty basic pay. After 2001, additional earnings are no longer credited.
So, it sounds like SS doesn't include these extra earnings when they do the calculation and send you the annual statement, but you could add them yourself and input the numbers into the calculator and see what you get. It won't be a big difference. For me (entered service in 1984) it came out to (IIRC) about $25 extra in SS payments (present year $$).
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:14 PM   #9
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Sam -- I just did the detailed online calculator entering the amounts on my SS statement gave me results -$26 at 62; -$34 at 66; and -$45 at 70. When I manually added in the mil credit amounts, I got the SAME results as the SS statement. So it appears they ARE factored into the calculation on the statement and result in rather minuscule changes even after 25 yrs of service.
NOW why the new 'Estimator' gives a bonus in the calculation is still a mystery to me. Perhaps there is a new updated indexing at work that hasn't been reflected in the statement or the 'detailed online calculator' yet.
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNtime View Post
Benefits Calculators: About the Social Security Retirement Estimator
I recently received my Social Security Statement in the mail and it got me thinking about SS estimates. I remembered something about additional credits being added for certain years of military service, so I tried to find out if these were factored into the estimates I received. NO real joy there. It says it is OR will be done automatically when you apply for benefits. Sooo, anyways I run the calculator estimator and it comes back with different results from what my statement shows. Hmm.... +$33 at 62; +43 at 65; +$57 at 70... Could this be the elusive additional military credit OR just some kind of a COLA difference between my statement dated on 6 Nov and now. I know it isn't additional income, since I haven't earned any in the last 7 yrs. Anyone else use the estimator and get different results from their statements?

BTW: For those still working the estimator lets you run some additional scenarios of stopping work prior(after) to 62 and seeing the effects on benefits. Nice what ifs...
There is a calculator at ssa.gov you can download that will allow you to input the time spent in the military.

The bad news is that you will need to input your data for the years you worked.

I don't think the yearly SS statement includes this military correction. The calculations I did with the downloadable came closer to the actual amount that my husband is now getting than the statement or on-line calculator did. I'm nervously hoping there is no mistake in the check he is receiving and have considered double checking with SSA. The on-line calculator won't let me in to use his final data so I can't tell when all the extra money came from. I ran it last year and it was notably smaller than the check he is now receiving. When he applied part of the application asked for his military years and I think he had to submit his discharge papers to someone but I don't know if it was SSA. When I put his military service into the downloadable calculator the numbers I get are very close to what the amount of the check he is receiving but not to the dollar amount.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNtime View Post
NOW why the new 'Estimator' gives a bonus in the calculation is still a mystery to me. Perhaps there is a new updated indexing at work that hasn't been reflected in the statement or the 'detailed online calculator' yet.
Yes, that is what it is. I get the same results using the new updated indexing and doing my own computations in Excel, as I get from the "Estimator". This benefit amount is more than that on my statement or what I get when I use the calculator (or what I got using the "Estimator" a couple of months ago, which I recorded). You have to use the new indexing and new bend points if you are computing from scratch. No military involved in mine so I can't help you there.
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