Are The AWI Calculations Already Baked In?

May 18 2020 - 7:36am

I am trying to get a handle on (age 57) what my future benefit might be at age 70. I have an idea, utilizing the SSC retirement calculator. What I don't understand is: 1. Are AWI calculations already baked in? If not, how would I figure those in and account for them - yearly averages, start with my estimated benefit at 70 and add the percentage every year until 62? 2. Same questions for COLA(62-70). Using a hypothetical of a current estimated benefit of $1000 at age 70, how do I figure out what my true estimated benefit might be if I account for AWI and COLA? Thanks


No, the average earnings amounts used to index a person's earnings for benefit computation purposes aren't known until shortly before the year in which the person reaches benefit eligibility. The earliest that a person can become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits is age 62, so the average earnings figure that will be used to index your earnings won't be known a few months prior to the year in which you reach age 62.

Cost of living adjustments (COLA) are based on changes in the consumer price index for workers (CPI-W), which also aren't known until shortly prior to the year that the COLA goes into effect. Therefore, any estimates of future Social Security benefit amounts are just that, estimates. And, if the past few months have taught us anything it's that the future is very unpredictable.

Our software ( uses a wide range of statistical data to arrive at the default amounts used in our benefit calculator. Therefore, we believe the software is the best available source for determining a person's approximate future benefit rates. However, users are permitted to adjust the default amounts if they so choose.

Best, Jerry