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Social Security estimate inconsistencies
Old 05-01-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
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Social Security estimate inconsistencies

Has anyone downloaded and installed the Social Security Benefit Calculator? I did this last year and thought that the estimates were somewhat high. I just finished building a new PC last month and got around to reinstalling the latest calculator program. The estimates are similar to last year's calculations.

What is confusing is that the SS online calculator does not match what this program is generating. In my situation, I am generating an estimate based on working to 55 (5 years from now) and then taking social security at age 62. That estimate is much higher than the one the online calculator is producing for age 62, which assumes I would work until 62 (I think).

Anyone have some pointers on using this benefit calculator?
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:35 PM   #2
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Has anyone downloaded and installed the Social Security Benefit Calculator? I did this last year and thought that the estimates were somewhat high. I just finished building a new PC last month and got around to reinstalling the latest calculator program. The estimates are similar to last year's calculations.

What is confusing is that the SS online calculator does not match what this program is generating. In my situation, I am generating an estimate based on working to 55 (5 years from now) and then taking social security at age 62. That estimate is much higher than the one the online calculator is producing for age 62, which assumes I would work until 62 (I think).

Anyone have some pointers on using this benefit calculator?
If you are using the "AnyPIA" SS calculator it requires you to input all your earnings and indicate your retirement age. This is the same program that SS runs when you apply for benefits.

The online calculator already has your earnings history so I would double check the inputs you made to AnyPIA for possible input errors. You should also make sure you have all the current table updates.

Be sure you are comparing amounts for age 62 (in today's dollars) on both.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:51 PM   #3
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If you are using the "AnyPIA" SS calculator it requires you to input all your earnings and indicate your retirement age. This is the same program that SS runs when you apply for benefits.

The online calculator already has your earnings history so I would double check the inputs you made to AnyPIA for possible input errors. You should also make sure you have all the current table updates.

Be sure you are comparing amounts for age 62 (in today's dollars) on both.
I downloaded the latest calculator today, so I have to believe I have the current table updates. I have my previous earnings entered through 2007 and was about to add 2008 when I decided to check the numbers against the online estimator.

I must be doing something wrong. I had the program forward project my current salary through 2014 (0 percent increase) and then calculate a retirement benefit at age 62 (about 6 years after that). The estimate is still much higher than for the online calculator.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:20 PM   #4
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Well, I found a setting that greatly alters the estimate. Under "Assumptions", by setting the average wage increase assumption to be "No increase beyond 2007 average wage", I get very close to the online calculation. I guess it is not enough to set a flat wage in "Supplemental Work Info". By allowing the average wage increase assumption to be set to its default, "2008 Trustees Report Alternative I", I get a large difference.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:52 PM   #5
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Well, I found a setting that greatly alters the estimate. Under "Assumptions", by setting the average wage increase assumption to be "No increase beyond 2007 average wage", I get very close to the online calculation. I guess it is not enough to set a flat wage in "Supplemental Work Info". By allowing the average wage increase assumption to be set to its default, "2008 Trustees Report Alternative I", I get a large difference.

My current setting is "No increase beyond 2007 average wage". I thought it was because I turned 60 in 2007 and that they no longer index to average wage. I have had no earned income for the last 9 years and I indicate that (with a zero) in my inputs.

It's a very complex program and its easy to make input and option mistakes. I feel better, as you do, when one of the estimates come close to the other.
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