Fact #: Social Security Is More Than Just A Retirement Program It Also Provides Important Life Insurance And Disability Insurance Protection
Over 65 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits in January 2022. While older adults make up about 4 in 5 beneficiaries, another one-fifth of beneficiaries received Social Security Disability Insurance or were young survivors of deceased workers.
In addition to Social Securitys retirement benefits, workers earn life insurance and SSDI protection by making Social Security payroll tax contributions:
- About 96 percent of people aged 20-49 who worked in jobs covered by Social Security in 2020 have earned life insurance protection through Social Security.
- For a young worker with average earnings, a spouse, and two children, thats equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of nearly $800,000 in 2020, according to Social Securitys actuaries.
- About 89 percent of people aged 21-64 who worked in covered employment in 2020 are insured through Social Security in case of severe disability.
The risk of disability or premature death is greater than many people realize. Some 7 percent of recent entrants to the labor force will die before reaching the full retirement age, and many more will become disabled.
What Is The Expected Social Security Increase For 2023
As such, a 10.5% COLA would increase the average retiree benefit of $1,668 by $175.10, rounded as done by the Social Security Administration, TSCL further notes. Based on the April CPI data released in May, TSCL estimated that the annual COLA for 2023 could be around 8.6%which would be the highest since 1981.
What Debts Are Forgiven At Death
What Types of Debt Can Be Discharged Upon Death?
- Secured Debt. If the deceased died with a mortgage on her home, whoever winds up with the house is responsible for the debt. …
- Unsecured Debt. Any unsecured debt, such as a credit card, has to be paid only if there are enough assets in the estate. …
- Student Loans. …
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Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color
Social Security is a particularly important source of income for groups with low earnings and less opportunity to save and earn pensions, including Black and Latino workers and their families, who face higher poverty rates during their working lives and in old age. The poverty rate among Black and Latino older adults is roughly 2.5 times as high as for white seniors. There is a significant racial retirement wealth gap, leading older adults of color to face more retirement insecurity than their white counterparts. Black and Latino workers are less likely to be offered workplace retirement plans, and they are likelier to work in low-wage jobs with little margin for savings. Social Security helps reduce the economic disparities between older white adults and older adults of color.
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Maximum Family Benefit Exceptions
The maximum family benefit applies differently in some situations. For example, an ex-spouse is usually entitled to claim benefits based on his or her former spouses earnings record. These benefits dont count against the maximum family limit.
A non-working spouse who retires before reaching full retirement age could qualify for a reduced percentage of the primary breadwinners benefits. And if a family has two earners who are both eligible for benefits, each spouse can receive 100% of their own benefit, even if this would put the family over the maximum. This is because it only applies to benefits that can be claimed based on one earners record.
Another special case is when a minor dependent child is entitled to receive benefits from both retired parents. Then, Social Security uses a different limit, called the combined family maximum. The family maximum in this case can be as high as the total of both parents calculated family maximum, as long as it doesnt exceed the combined family maximum.
What If Your Salary Is Below $147000
If your salary is below $147,000 in 2022 or below $160,200 in 2023, you could potentially still earn the maximum Social Security benefit. But to do so, you would need to make sure that 2022 doesn’t count in your benefits calculation. You would need a total of 35 other years of work, during which you earn the maximum countable income.
Most people are not going to be able to pull that off, so don’t count on maxing out your Social Security benefit. Instead, you should realize your own Social Security is going to equal about 40% of your preretirement wages. So you can estimate what your benefit is likely to be and start planning to save enough to supplement that income so you can have a comfortable life as a retiree.
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Maximum Social Security Benefit Also Set To Increase
As expected, the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age will also increase in 2023, from $3,345 to $3,627. Its important to note that this maximum applies to those retiring at the full retirement age, which is 67 for anyone born after 1960.
The maximum will be different for those who retire before the full retirement age, because benefits are reduced in that situation. The same applies for those who retire after the full retirement age, a strategy that can max out your benefit check.
Fact #: Social Security Benefits Are Modest
Social Security benefits are much more modest than many people realize the average Social Security retirement benefit in January 2022 was about $1,614 per month, or about $19,370 per year. For someone who worked all of their adult life at average earnings and retires at age 65 in 2022, Social Security benefits replace about 37 percent of past earnings. Social Securitys replacement rate fell as the programs full retirement age gradually rose from 65 in 2000 to 67 in 2022.
Most retirees enroll in Medicares Supplementary Medical Insurance and have Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. As health care costs continue to outpace general inflation, those premiums will take a bigger bite out of their checks.
Social Security benefits are also modest by international standards. The U.S. ranks just outside the bottom third of developed countries in the percentage of an average workers earnings replaced by the public pension system.
Social Security is important for children and their families as well as for older adults. Over 6.5 million children under age 18 lived in families who received income from Social Security in 2019. That number included nearly 2.8 million children who received their benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers, as well as others who lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security benefits.
Social Security lifted 1.1 million children above the poverty line in 2020, as the chart shows.
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Watch How Much You Earn In The Years Preceding Full Retirement
The SSA has imposed earning limits for individuals who have entered early and full retirement. Those limits, and the impact on your earnings, depend on how close you are to your full retirement age.
In 2022, an early retiree can make $19,560 in gross wages or net self employment earnings without penalty. Any overage will result in $1 deducted from the Social Security check for every $2 earned above this amount. Once you reach the year of your full retirement age, you can bring in $51,960 prior to the month of your full retirement birthday without penalty. For every $3 earned above this amount, the SSA will deduct $1 from your Social Security payment. These limits also affect the amounts family members can receive from your claim.
Once youve reached full retirement age, earnings do not impact your benefits.
Waiting Til Age 70 Yields The Highest Benefit But Only Big Earners Get The Max
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The maximum Social Security retirement benefit that you can receive depends on the age when you begin collecting and your earnings history, among other factors. In 2022, the maximum is $3,345 per month for someone who files at full retirement age at age 66. But $4,194 is the absolute highest benefit for those who qualify and delay claiming until age 70.
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Work Until Full Retirement Age
Another step you can take to maximize your Social Security benefits is to work until your full retirement age . Originally, this number was set at 65. But it has been steadily creeping up, thanks to the passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1983 . Starting in 2000, the full retirement age has been increasing in two-month increments so that its 67 for people born in 1960 or later.
If you dont wait till your FRA, the earliest you can start receiving Social Security is 62 years old. However, your benefit will be reduced by up to 30% if your FRA is 67 in this case.
Ssa Announces New 2023 Maximum Social Security Benefit
You may have seen the cost of everything going up the past year. High inflation has led to the … highest Social Security COLA in over 40 years.
Maximizing your Social Security income should be a key part of your retirement plan. As Americans often enjoy longer retirements, the guaranteed lifetime income for Social Security is an even more important part of maintaining your financial security as you age. With a near record Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2023, the maximum Social Security benefits will increase again next year.
Work For At Least 35 Years
Your Social Security benefit is based on your 35 highest years of earnings, so the first thing you need to do to collect the maximum benefit is to work for at least 35 years. If you only work 25 years, the other 10 years will be entered as zeroes when Social Security calculates your average earnings. Falling short of the 35-year mark — even by just a year — will prevent you from collecting the maximum benefit, no matter how much you earned during the other 34 years.
How To Maximize Benefits
To get the maximum benefit, you need to take three main steps.
Firstly, youll want to make sure that youve worked for at least 35 years.
If not, zeros will be averaged into your calculation for each year you’re missing income under that threshold.
You must also earn the maximum wage taxable or more for at least 35 years.
The maximum wage taxable is $147,000 in 2022, but it changes each year as salaries increase.
Once your earnings exceed that wage cap, you don’t get taxed on it for Social Security.
The third but perhaps easiest way to boost your benefits is to delay your claim.
You can start claiming at age 62, but this would result in a permanent 30% reduction of your benefits.
If your full retirement age is 66, youll get 100% of your monthly benefit if you start claiming then.
Or if you delay benefits for an additional 12 months, youll receive 108% while you’ll get 132% of the monthly benefit if you wait until 70.
You can’t earn delayed retirement credits beyond age 70, so there’s no point to delay your claim further than this.
You can also use the Maximize My Social Security tool by professor and economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff to help you boost your benefit amount as well.
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What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit In 2022
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What About Taxes On Social Security
Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your combined income. Your combined income is equal to your adjusted gross income , plus non-taxable interest payments , plus half of your Social Security benefit.
As your combined income increases above a certain threshold , more of your benefit is subject to income taxâup to a maximum of 85%. For help, talk with a CPA or tax professional.
In any case, if youre still working, you may want to postpone Social Security either until you reach your full retirement age or until your earned income is less than the annual limit. In no situation should you postpone benefits past age 70.
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Watch For These 5 Changes To Social Security In 2023
More than 70 million people depend on one of Social Securitys benefit programs, so annual changes to the program and its payouts are always highly anticipated. But substantially higher benefit checks have been a rarity in recent years. With inflation soaring in 2022, the extra money will help seniors and others make ends meet.
Should You Collect Social Security Early
As you can see from the table above, if you wait and collect Social Security at age 66 in 2022, you will get 100% of the benefits you are eligible for.
However, if you start collecting at the earliest age of 62, your benefits will be permanently reduced between 20-25% depending on when you were born.
Also, if you wait until 67, youll get 108 percent of the monthly benefit because you delayed getting benefits for 12 months.
Additionally, if you wait until age 70, youll get 132 percent of the monthly benefit because you delayed getting benefits for 48 months.
How Much Do You Have To Make To Get Maximum Social Security
To receive the maximum Social Security benefit, youd need to earn at least the maximum wage taxable by Social Security for 35 years and delay claiming the benefit until you reach 70. The earnings cap adjusts every year based on changes to the national average wage index and is $147,000 in 2022, up from $142,800 in 2021.
How To Get The Maximum Social Security Benefit
Few people receive the maximum Social Security check from the government. To defy this and potentially become one of a small handful to bag $4,194 per month, you’ll need to be a high earner over many decades and delay receiving the benefits.
The checklist is as follows:
What Is The Maximum Social Security Disability Benefit
According to theSocial Security Administration , the maximum monthly Social Security Disability benefit is $3,345 per month in 2022-up from $3,148 in 202. This number is also the maximum monthly amount people who have reached full retirement age can receive for their monthly Social Security retirement payment.
Our disability lawyers understand how the SSA determines the benefit amount for disability recipients. We can help you apply for disability or handle your appeal if your application was denied.
How Social Security Benefits Are Calculated
Qualifying for Social Security in the first place requires 40 work credits or approximately 10 years of work. To be eligible to receive the maximum benefit, you need to earn Social Securitys maximum taxable income for 35 years. The cap, which is the amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax, is $147,000 in 2022, up from $142,800 in 2021.
Social Security benefits are calculated by combining your 35 highest-paid years . First, all wages are indexed to account for inflation. Wages from previous years are multiplied by a factor based on the years when they were earned. This calculation gives an amount comparable to buying power based on the current value of the dollar. Accounting for this valuation change is important because a salary of $14,000, for example, was far more impressive in 1954 than it is today.
Once all wages have been indexed, your average indexed monthly earnings is computed by dividing the sum of all indexed wages by 420 . If you worked fewer than 35 years, a zero is entered for years when you did not work. The benefit amount is then calculated based on factors that include the year when collection begins, whether you have reached FRA, and whether you continue to work while collecting benefits.
Once you reach age 70, there is no reason to wait longer to start collectingyour benefit wont increase further.
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