The Social Security Administration (SSA) has four different calculators with varying degrees of accuracy from rough estimates to exact calculations of an individual's benefits. Their default assumptions include zero future inflation and zero future real wage growth. They calculate your benefits either on a specified date or give you three benefit estimates, at your earliest date of retirement, at full retirement age, or at your latest date of retirement. Some, but not all calculate surviving child's and surviving spouse's benefits and the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.
None of the SSA calculators identify the filing strategy that results in the maximum lifetime benefits. So the SSA calculators don't answer questions like these:
- For married couples, should one spouse file and suspend?
- Who should file for spouse's benefits?
- If you've already started collecting should you suspend collection and reinstate at a later date?
Our software calculates all benefits available to individuals and families except parents' benefits. We search across all filing date combinations to find the maximum lifetime benefit. This search typically looks at thousands, tens of thousands, and occasionally hundreds of thousands of possible date combinations to suggest the best strategy.