If you're like most workers, you've labored hard throughout the year. This Labor Day weekend, it's nice to be able to kick back and take a rest from all of your hard work. But it may also be a good time to take a look at your retirement plans.
The best starting point is to visit Social Security's Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Retirement Estimator is an easy way to get an instant, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits. The Estimator uses your actual earnings history to compute a benefit estimate. However, for privacy purposes, we do not display your earnings. You can enter a variety of scenarios, such as different earnings amounts and retirement dates, to find out how they will change your benefit amount.
If the picture looks better than you anticipated, you might decide it's time to punch your last time card and leave the labor force for retirement sooner than you expected. If that's the case, the easiest way to apply for retirement is online.
It used to be a labor to apply for benefits. It used to mean making a trip to a Social Security office and then being required to fill out paperwork. Now, you can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline to find out everything you need to know about applying online for retirement benefits - and to proceed with filing the application online in as little as 15 minutes.
In most cases, once you submit your online application electronically, that's it. There are no additional forms to sign or paperwork to complete. In rare cases where we need additional information, a representative will contact you.
This Labor Day, picnics, family, and friends are all part of the fun you've earned on a holiday set aside to celebrate the fruit of your labor. But spend a few moments considering what your labor has earned you through Social Security protection for you and your family.
Note: Social Security offices will be closed Monday in celebration of Labor Day.
Learn more about Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from the Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.