For Mark Roberts’ Use: 

In recent years there have been numerous reports of the problems faced by Social Security. The aging Baby Boomer population, as well as increased life expectancy for all Americans, have put a strain on Social Security’s budget. During election years the causes of the problem, as well as potential solutions, are often debated by candidates. While these are all very important issues, the average American worker just wants to know one thing: What can I expect to receive from Social Security when I retire?

It’s actually not difficult to calculate your potential Social Security benefits, but of course you will need to keep in mind that the program is in trouble and this amount is only an estimate. The Social Security website provides a tool, which will calculate your future monthly benefit for you, at After gathering some information like your age, place of birth, expected earnings, and other pertinent details, the tool will calculate an estimate of the payment you can expect to receive when you reach retirement age.

Currently there are different payment amounts available, depending upon when you retire. The tool will calculate your benefits at age 62 as well as the benefits you could receive if you wait until full retirement age. Social Security designates full retirement age as 65 to 67, depending upon when you were born. You can compare both of these numbers to the amount you could receive if you continue working until age 70.

Continuing to work longer and pay into the Social Security fund will theoretically result in a larger monthly check. However, as we all know, the fund is facing some serious problems. The 2012 Social Security Trustees Report stated that the amount paid in benefits continues to outstrip payroll taxes going into the fund. At the current rate of benefits versus funding, the Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money by 2035. At that point, there will only be enough money in the fund to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefit amounts.

Keep in mind when calculating your future benefits that you may receive only three-fourths of that amount each month. This is an important factor to consider when making retirement plans, and American workers should remember that funding their own retirements is the key to a secure future.