Maximize Social Security Income With These 6 Tools

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Figuring out when to apply for Social security can be complex, with hundreds of rules in the handbook.
  2. Every situation is different, and using the right tools will help create a withdrawal strategy that maximizes your monthly income.
  3. We show you the 6 best tools to use to maximize your social security income.

Best overall social security income calculator – RetirementEstimator

retirement estimator social security

Full link: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/estimator.html

Pros: Real numbers with actual earnings, ability to select ages to stop working, and examine changes to income.

Cons: must enter personal information and have enough social security credits to set up an account.

Best widow benefit calculator – Retirement Calculator

widow benefit-social-security-calculator

Full link: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/retire-calc.html

There are about four million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse’s earnings record. For many of those survivors, particularly aged women, those benefits help to provide the necessities of life.

Widows and widowers can receive:

    • Reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age or older.
    • If widows or widowers qualify for retirement benefits on their own record, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62.
    • Benefits as early as age 50 if they’re disabled AND their disability started before or within seven years of your death.

Best “break-even” calculator – Broadridgeadvisor.com

break even social security calculator

Full link: https://www.broadridgeadvisor.com/

To help make the decision, this calculator compares the cumulative Social Security retirement benefits paid beginning at three different starting ages and estimates how long it takes for the cumulative benefits begun at a later age to equal or “break-even” with the cumulative benefits begun at an earlier age.

The total cumulative benefits you receive can be affected by a number of factors, including the age at which you begin receiving benefits and how long you live.

Best “survivor benefit” and “disability” calculator.

disability survivor-benefit retirement calculator

Full link: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/anypia/anypia.html

Pros: Get the most precise estimate of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. The estimate includes WEP reduction.

Cons: Must be downloaded and installed on your computer.

Best “Early or Late” Retirement Calculator

  • Monthly Social Security benefits are reduced if you start payments before your full retirement and increase for each month of delayed claiming up until age 70.
  • The Social Security Administration’s Early or Late Retirement Calculator can help you compute the change in your payment amount based on the exact month you plan to start Social Security.

Full link: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/early_late.html

Pros: Easy to use, basic

Cons: Have to enter in data manually

Best “Life Expectancy” Calculator

  • Making a decision as to when to begin taking Social Security payments starts with estimating how long you will live.
  • Use this life expectancy calculator to estimate how long a person of your type typically lives.

Full link: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/population/longevity.html

Pros: Easy to use, basic

Cons: Have to enter in data manually

The Bottom Line

  • Using the right calculator can help maximize your social security monthly income.
  • Planning is key, as making the wrong decision could leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

Other ways to grow monthly income

  • Social security is just one way to generate monthly income.
  • Learn strategies to maximize your income from other sources.


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