Since 1999, the Social Security Administration has been sending annual benefit statements to workers aged 25 and older who would be eligible to receive benefits. These statements list benefit amounts for the worker in the event of retirement or disability, as well as benefit amounts to dependents in the even of death of the deceased worker.
There are five basic categories of social security benefits that are funded by workers’ and employers’ contributions. 1) retirement 2) disability 3) family 4) survivors and 5) Medicare. As the worker works, he or she earns credits towards benefit eligibility. Ultimately, it is the worker’s actual earnings that determine the amount of benefits that the worker or the worker’s dependents should receive.
The Social Security Administration provides an online benefits calculator to help determine an estimate of what a worker or worker’s dependents would receive. The online calculator provides estimates that are similar to the estimates included in the annual benefits statements.