The Social Security Administration website has comprehensive information on all available Social Security benefits and how to apply for them. Other sites such as Bankrate and AARP have calculators individuals can use to input information and receive estimates of Social Security benefits.
On the home page of the official Social Security website, click on Benefits in the toolbar near the top to access the benefits index. To the left are links to general information on benefits such as retirement, disability, survivors, Medicare and Supplemental Security Income. There are also guidelines for people with special circumstances such as spouses, children, government employees, released prisoners and those residing outside the United States. In the center are links to online applications for various types of Social Security benefits, checking the status of current applications and appealing negative decisions. To the right are links for those who already receive Social Security benefits and need to manage them.
The calculators on sites such as Bankrate and AARP use information such as current age, income, years of work and expected age of retirement to estimate annual Social Security retirement benefits. Estimating benefit amounts at different retirement ages helps future retirees anticipate optimum retirement times based on their personal financial situations.