In a cost-saving move, Social Security has suspended the annual mailing of personal benefit estimates, which traditionally arrived a few months before each covered worker's birthday. To estimate future benefits, workers below retirement age now must rely on online calculators, such as the worksheet available at

Another useful tool you can use to help clients plan their benefits is a table illustrating the historic maximum benefits from 1987 through 2012 for workers who begin benefits at age 62, 65 and 70. (62 is the earliest age most people can begin benefits; Delayed Retirement Credits are awarded for deferring benefits through age 70.) The table is available here:

For 2012, the maximum benefit is $1,855 per month for a worker at age 62, $2,310 at age 65 and $3,266 at age 70. These estimates reflect the 3.6% Cost of Living Adjustment for 2012.

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