Tips On Using The Windfall Elimination Calculator

This calculator was designed specifically to allow you to get Social Security estimates if you have a pension from work where you did not pay F.I.C.A. (The most accurate estimates can be obtained by using the Detailed calculator, but you must download it to your own computer to use.)

1. Print out your earnings history from your Social Security Statement using your my Social Security account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one at this link: www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.)

2. Enter all of your Social Security earnings. Be sure not to use the Medicare Earnings column. If you are a high wage earner, you only pay the F.I.C.A. tax on earnings up to a certain limit each year. If you used that column you would incorrectly over inflate your estimate.)

3. You need to know and enter the amount of your non-covered (did not pay F.I.C.A. tax on wages used for pension) pension.

4. Consider using today’s dollars for your calculator because you understand the current value of dollars. You cannot change the rate of inflation we use in the calculation, if you choose inflated dollars. (This link shows the rate we estimate inflation will be: www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/TRassum.html.)

5. The years of earnings fields to be entered are shown horizontally, not vertically. You can tab from year to year to enter your earnings. Pay careful attention that you do not enter your earnings vertically because the estimate you receive will be incorrect.

6. You will be asked to fill in estimates for the current year and the next year. The estimate should be as close to the number that will appear under F.I.C.A. wages on your W-2 as possible.

7. Press the Calculate Benefit button. Now, you have estimates to use for your pre-retirement planning.

8. There is also a table to use for those who only need only their own Social Security amount. Follow the directions to use the table on the site. Use the figure you locate to subtract from your full retirement amount. If you take benefits earlier than full retirement age, your check will be reduced (not solely because of WEP but because of taking it early —you should subtract the WEP reduction amount from your reduced estimate. The number represents the maximum amount your Social Security retirement check would be reduced.)

9. Here’s a chart to help with age 62 reductions from full benefit amounts by date of birth: www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/agereduction.html.

Now, you’re ready to do some financial planning for a secure future.