Why Did I Get Different Benefit Estimates From Social Security?

Jan 26 2019 - 10:19am

Hello,

I'm 60 and single. Have about 19 years employment (was disable for many years with a smattering of employment (about from 1975 to 1980). I'm at about $72000 p/year now.

I went to my SSA online and used calculator which said I'd get $1,122.00 at 62, ($1,083 if I stopped work now and claim at 62), $1,784 at 66 and 8 mths (full retirement.

I then went to SSA office in person to verify the above totals and asked them for a calculation. She (claims rep) gave me a "Benefit Matrix" printout which said I'd get $1,673 at 62 (even if I stopped work now), $2,322. at 66 and 8 months?

I asked her why the different amounts? She said they should be the same if I gave all the same personal information. NOTE: Online, I used both "

Hi,

I can't give you a definite answer to that. You mention having been disabled for many years, so one possibility that could explain the discrepancy is if you drew Social Security disability benefits at some time in the past. If you did, Social Security would exclude your period of disability when they calculate your Social Security retirement benefit rate. The result would be that instead of basing your benefit rate on an average of your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings as is normally done, Social Security would use fewer years in the computation.

For example, say Jake drew Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits for 5 years, and his benefits then stopped when he was able to return to work. When Jake files for Social Security retirement benefits in the future his benefit rate will be based on an average of his highest 30 years of wage-indexed earnings as opposed to the normal 35 years. That allows more lower earnings years to be excluded from being used, which in turn results in a higher average yearly earnings amount and a higher Social Security retirement benefit rate.

I have no idea whether or not what I described above is applicable in your case, but no other explanation comes to mind that would explain the substantial discrepancy in the estimates you received from Social Security. You may want to strongly consider using our software to get an accurate estimate of your benefit rate, and to help you determine your best strategy for claiming your Social Security benefits.

Best, Jerry