Your labor is worth celebrating

Americans across the nation celebrated Labor Day with picnics and gatherings, barbeques and ball games. But it’s worth a moment to stop and consider what you’re really celebrating.

Labor Day is a celebration of workers and their families, as it has been since it was established back in 1882. So take a moment to reflect on what your hard labor has done for you, besides providing a livelihood for you and your family.

A good way to start is by reading your Social Security Statement. Your annual Statement arrives about two months before your birthday. If you have it filed away, pull it out and take a look at your earnings over the years, as well as how much you and your family can expect in future benefits when you retire, become disabled, or die.

Then take the next interactive step by visiting our Retirement Estimator at The Retirement Estimator is an easy way to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits. The Estimator uses your earnings history as shown on the Statement but does not display it for privacy purposes. 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.

When you are ready to apply for benefits, the easiest way is online. Just visit to find out everything you need to know about applying online for benefits – and to proceed with filing the application. Even after you’re retired, you still can celebrate the labors of your long and productive career as you collect your Social Security benefit payments each month.

Spend a few moments reflecting on the labor of your life and the Social Security protection you’re building up for you and your family. The Statement and Estimator will put it all in black and white.

Learn more about Social Security at

kathy petersen is the public affairs specialist for south dakota and eastern wyoming. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at kathy. check back next week as she answers your social security questions.