With millions upon millions of baby boomers about to retire, the Social Security Administration has created an online "retirement benefits estimator" that is a substantial improvement over the previous Internet version. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
There are a number of things that are significant improvements. Unlike previous versions, this one uses your actual Social Security taxes paid over your lifetime, to calculate the benefit for you -- exactly. Secondly, it provides an opportunity to ask for different scenarios - such as, what if I retire early at age 62, or age 64, versus my full retirement age of 66. Finally, it is FAST! Two simple pages of input items (name, SSN, date of birth, mother's maiden name), and you'll instantly have the amount of your Social Security check.
With over 1 million people visiting Social Security local offices each week, anything that will cut down on unnecessary trips to SSA will benefit both individuals who need the information as well as the number of SSA employees needed to respond to requests for information.