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April 7, 2000

Mark Lassiter, Press Officer

For Immediate Release

410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Social Security Online


News Release


Earlier today, in a signing ceremony for the elimination of the Social Security retirement earnings test, President Clinton unveiled a new electronic service by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help Americans better prepare for their financial future – an online retirement planner. SSA’s online retirement planner will allow individuals to compute estimates of their future Social Security retirement benefits online at SSA’s internet website –"Whether you're 25, 35, 45 or 55, it's never too early to plan for your future retirement," said Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security. "Planning for your future financial security can now be as easy as one, two, three. Our new Internet service, Social Security Retirement Planner, will accomplish step one of retirement planning, helping workers to understand the amount of Social Security benefits they can expect in retirement. With this information, workers will be better prepared to take steps two and three--seeking information about private pension plans they may be eligible to receive and making decisions about the need for savings and investments."Most financial advisors believe that people need about 70 percent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement. Social Security replaces only a portion of that amount--about 42 percent of pre-retirement earnings for the average worker. Social Security is the foundation on which to build a stable financial future; but a comfortable retirement has always rested on a three-legged financial stool – Social Security, pensions and savings.The Social Security Retirement Planner provides users with three options for obtaining an estimate of their Social Security retirement benefit –

  1. The Quick Calculator produces a very rough estimate that only requires people to provide their age and current earnings. Benefit estimates are provided for reduced retirement at age 62, full retirement age and age 70.

    The Online Calculator produces a benefit estimate based on past, present and projected future information that are input by users. Workers can create various scenarios such as when they plan to retire and how much they expect to earn in the future.

  2. For the Detailed and most elaborate estimate, an individual can download and install a software program on a personal computer (PC). The interactive program allows workers the most flexibility to customize their estimates based on differing scenarios and produces a variety of benefit numbers for retirement, survivors and disability benefits for both workers and their families.

NOTE: To maintain privacy and to protect records from unauthorized users, none of the calculators are linked to individual earnings records or any other information in SSA’s database. All benefit estimates are based strictly on input from the users.

Understanding the need for workers to plan early for a secure retirement, SSA launched a new service in October 1999 which provides all workers age 25 and over who are not already receiving Social Security benefits an annual Social Security Statement in the mail. The Social Security Statement provides workers with estimates of their retirement benefits at age 62, full retirement age and age 70. The Social Security Retirement Planner expands on that initiative by giving workers an opportunity to customize those estimates by inputting other retirement ages and projecting future earnings.The Social Security Retirement Planner also provides links to important information on factors that can affect retirement benefits, such as military service, household earnings, and federal employment. Browsers can go directly to any of the site areas for detailed information on issues that may affect their benefits.The Social Security Retirement Planner also walks individuals through the retirement planning and application process. The service offers valuable information on issues to consider when contemplating retirement, what documents are needed when applying for benefits, other potential benefits for the worker or family members, and how and where to apply for benefits."The Social Security Retirement Planner is another example of SSA’s commitment to expanding electronic services to its customers," Deputy Commissioner of Social Security William A. Halter said. "It is the latest in a series of Social Security initiatives to meet the growing public demand for online services from SSA. We ask our customers what they want and we make every effort to deliver."The Social Security Retirement Planner can be accessed directly at or simply by using the link provided on the Social Security Online homepage.

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS: A fact sheet regarding the Social Security Retirement Planner is available. Click here for the Retirement Planner factsheet:

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Note: Copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information and statistics,
are available at SSA’s Internet site, Social Security Online, at
Also look there for information on subscribing to SSA’s
free electronic newsletter, Social Security eNews.

SSA Press Office 449 Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

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