Categorize Social Security Benefits in Personal Budget Spreadsheet

Applies to Excel templates: "Georges Budget for Excel"

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Having a good retirement budget spreadsheet is an important tool to track your income and expenses, stay on budget, save money and not overspend. Now is the time the manage your wealth built from retirement planning and your retirement goals. This includes tracking your social security check in a budget app. The social security retirement benefit is a monthly check that replaces part of your income when you meet certain eligibility criteria such as your age. If you are retired and receive social security retirement benefits, there are different ways to categorize your social security income in the checkbook register of the personal finance software. You could categorize the net social security check or the gross social security check and related deductions. The 2 examples are explained below. The amount of the social security direct deposit is 2000.00 in both examples.


Categorized Social Security Check: Net amount only



Categorize net social security check in personal finance software



The quick way to budget your social security benefits is to enter and categorize the net amount of the social security payment which is the amount of money that is deposited into your bank account by direct deposit. You only have to record a single line transaction when your monthly social security benefit is received and categorize the net amount to an income category. You can edit the name of the income category to fit your personal finances.

1) Net Social Security Check: 2000.00 (Income Category)

Recording just the net social security makes retirement budgeting easier as you only have to categorize and set a budget for the one income item. The net amount of the social security payment is also what is available to be spent on various expense categories or added to your savings.


Categorize Social Security Benefits: Gross Check amount and any deductions and tax withholdings


Categorize social security benefits in budget spreadsheet


Using the retirement budget spreadsheet to track the gross social security benefits and related deductions and withholdings is another option. This option is good for those who want to track where all the funds are going to, even if those funds are not directly deposited in your checking account.

Below is an example of how to enter a gross social security check and deductions into the budget app. In your particular social security retirement payment, there may be additional types of deductions that reduce the net amount deposited in your bank account.

Use a split transaction in the checkbook register to split the net social security check amount of 2000.00 into the following categories. Each category name can be customized. The net amount deposited into the bank account is 2000.00 which is also the running balance in the register as no other transactions have been recorded.

1) Gross Social Security Check: 2400.00  (Income Category)
2) Social Security Deduction: Medicare Premiums: -150.00 (Expense Category)
3) Social Security Deduction: Federal Income Tax Withholding: -250.00 (Expense Category)

Since you are tracking the actual amounts of the social security payment deductions, you also need to set a monthly budget for these income and expense categories. This can be time consuming as you can see there are several items that can be deducted from your social security payments.

The deductions from your social security check are the part of the monthly payment that is being withheld. Part of your social security payment may be withheld for:
1) Medicare Premium payments such as Medicare Part B Premiums, Medicare Part C, and Medicare Part D Premiums
2) Overpayment of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
3) Excess earnings
4) Voluntary income tax withholding
5) Payment of your appointed representative



The budget software is a great Excel template that provides two options to record your social security retirement benefits. Categorizing just the net social security check is ideal is you want to save time and make retirement budgeting more simple. Why spend time categorizing and setting budget for deductions that are already allocated for a particular expense and never even hit your bank account since they are taking out of your social security check before it is deposited. Categorized the gross social security check and related deductions can be beneficial for those who want to use the personal finance software to track gross amounts and where all funds were spent or allocated to.

While I use the term "Social Security Check", all social security payments including Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits must be made electronically. Only a small percent of retirees still receive a social security paper check. Currently, there are two ways that social security benefits can be received:
1) Into an existing bank account via a Direct Deposit Payment
2) Onto a Direct Express Debit Mastercard. Direct Express card is prepaid debit card you can use to access your social security benefit payments. A bank account is need required. With the Direct Express card program, the social security administration deposits your federal payment directly into your card account. The monthly funds will be available on your payment day. The debit card can be used to make purchases, pay bills, and get cash so it functions like a checking account.


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