MaxiFi Planner does not "estimate" future Social Security benefits: it calculates them. A great deal of programming effort has been put into getting this calculation right. But it's complicated. For example, what's known as the "recalculation of benefit" occurs when someone is currently receiving benefits but is still working. These new labor earnings could actually replace the labor earnings of some earlier year in the calculation of the highest 35 years causing a recalculation of benefits and thus a new, higher annual benefit amount.
When there are no future labor earnings and no pension from non-covered earnings and when you have from SSA your benefit amount at your full retirement age (FRA), MaxiFi can use that amount to infer your earnings history. MaxiFI provides a place for you to enter the date and your benefit amount at your FRA.
When you have have future labor earnings and/or a pension from non-covered earnings (regardless of whether or not you are currently collecting Social Security benefits), MaxiFI needs your detailed earnings history; simply inferring it from our benefit at FRA is not enough. There are three ways to enter your detailed earnings history.
If you have a copy of your SS earnings history, you can enter those earnings manually.
The second and third approach involve retrieving your earnings history from SSA, so you must first set up (if you have not already) and log into your account at Social Security Administration (SSA) This video produced by the Social Security Administration explains the benefits of creating a My Social Security account and explains in detail the steps to do so. You may view this page with a video for more details about how to import SS history from My Social Security.
The cut and paste method After signing in to SSA.gov, you should navigate to your earnings history table and use the following steps:
- Select all on the Earnings Record page, then copy
- Return to MaxiFi and click in the text box for pasting earnings history and paste in the earnings.
- The 'Import' button should appear, click it to finish the import.
There is a video in the application that illustrates this process.
The download file method
A simpler method for retrieving your earnings history is outlined below.
It involves downloading a file from SSA.gov and importing it. This is also the most common method for financial professionals to use to request earnings history from clients. The file does not contain your SS number. In short, here are the steps to import your Social Security earnings using the download file:
- Log in to the Social Security Administration website
- Click the 'Download Your Statement Data' link to download your XML data
- Click in the upload box below and choose your file.
These three steps are elaborated below:
Log in to the Social Security Administration website The first step requires that you first create your free My Social Security account at the SSA website. This step is "best practice" in order to monitor your Social Security record. The SSA no longer sends printed reports, and your My Social Security access is the primary way of gaining access to and monitoring your earnings history.
How to find the Import XML option is shown below in these three images.