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What Is Social Security Retirement Benefits

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How to Calculate Your Social Security Benefits

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Protect Yourself From Fraud

Social Security is diligently working at national, regional, and local levels to combat the fraud that undermines our mission to serve the American public.

There are steps you can take to help protect your personal information:

  • Do not routinely carry your Social Security card.
  • Never say your Social Security number aloud in public.
  • Beware of phishing scams to trick you into revealing personal information.
  • Create a mySocial Security account to help you keep track of your records.
  • Visit If You Want Extra Security to learn about extra verification steps we can add to your account.

Report Suspicious Activity

If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from Social Security, hang up and then report details of the call to the Office of the Inspector General. You can do this by submitting a report online.

Additional Information

Are There Retirement Benefits For My Family Members

Once you start collecting Social Security, other family members may be entitled to collect benefits as well, based on your work history. If youve been married for at least one year, your spouse may be entitled to collect spousal benefits. Under certain conditions, your children may also be entitled to benefits.

There is a limit on the amount of benefits that family members receive on the earnings record of one worker. The limit varies between 150% and 188% of the workers PIA. If the total benefits owed to your spouse and children push your familys benefits above the limit, their benefits will be reduced proportionately to bring the total within the limit. Your benefits will not be affected. Any benefits payable to an ex-spouse arent included in the family maximum.

How Social Security Adjusts Family Benefits

Social Security adjusts the auxiliary benefits it pays to keep the family benefit below the maximum. The primary earners benefits are never reduced due to the family benefit exceeding the maximum allowed. Only auxiliary benefits are reduced.

The reduction gets distributed equally among the family members receiving auxiliary benefits. In the above example, the spouse and the child would each have their benefits reduced by $200 to keep the family benefit from exceeding the maximum of $3,600.

The benefits paid to each auxiliary recipient may change over time. For instance, minor dependent children getting auxiliary benefits will stop being eligible, in most cases, after age 18. As that happens, the auxiliary payments going to other family members increase up to the maximum.

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How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify

While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:

  • Those who are currently retired
  • To people with disabilities
  • To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died

Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.

There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:

  • Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits

How We Deduct Earnings From Benefits

Should You Delay Applying For Social Security Past Age 70?

In 2022, if youre under full retirement age, the annual earnings limit is $19,560. If you will reach full retirement age in 2022, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $51,960.

Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, there is no limit on how much you can earn and still receive your benefits.

Let’s look at a few examples. You are receiving Social Security retirement benefits every month in 2022 and you:

  • Are under full retirement age all year. You are entitled to $800 a month in benefits.

    You work and earn $29,560 during the year. Your Social Security benefits would be reduced by $5,000 . You would receive $4,600 of your $9,600 in benefits for the year.

  • Reach full retirement age in August 2022. You are entitled to $800 per month in benefits.

    You work and earn $63,000 during the year, with $52,638 of it in the 7 months from January through July.

    • Your Social Security benefits would be reduced through July by $226 . You would still receive $5,374 out of your $5,600 benefits for the first 7 months.
    • Beginning in August 2022, when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full benefit , no matter how much you earn.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits this year and are still working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how your earnings could affect your benefit payments.

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Benefits For Your Children

When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.

To receive benefits, the child must:

Benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.

Benefits paid for your child will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits they may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.

Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries

You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.

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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.

Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color

How Social Security Works

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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How Do You Apply

You can apply online by using our Social Security Retirement/Medicare Benefit Application to apply for retirement, spouse’s, divorced spouse’s or Medicare benefits.

If you and your spouse apply online for retirement benefits at the same time, or if your spouse applies online after you start receiving benefits, we will check their eligibility for benefits as a spouse. If they are qualified, the online application will automatically include a request for spousal benefits on your record.

If your spouse applies for benefits, they need to be ready to supply the information we need to approve their application for these benefits:

Can I Receive Social Security Disability And Retirement Benefits

In most cases, you cannot receive Social Security disability and retirement benefits at the same time, since SSDI benefits are meant for those who cannot work due to injury or illness. If youre receiving retirement benefits, it is already implicit that you are no longer working. There is one exception to this rule, however.

If you take an early retirement at age 62 before applying for disability benefits, and are later found to have been eligible for disability during that time, the Social Security Administration will make up the difference between your early retirement benefits and your monthly disability benefits for those months that you received early retirement payments. Of course, youll have to submit adequate documentation that you took an early retirement because of your disabling condition.

Its also worth noting that some individuals can draw monthly benefits from more than one Social Security program. For example, you may be able to qualify for both SSI and SSDI or retirement and SSI.

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Make As Much Money As Possible

The second way to maximize your Social Security benefit is to earn as much as possible during your 35 highest-paid years. Of course, that is easier said than done, but you could supplement your primary employment with a part-time job to generate extra income, especially if you have a monetizable hobby. Or, at the very least, you can avoid dialing back to part-time employment in the years leading up to retirement.

To Wait Or Not To Wait

Retirement Plans Columbus

Consider taking benefits earlier if . . .

  • You are no longer working and can’t make ends meet without your benefits.
  • You are in poor health and don’t expect the surviving member of the household to make it to average life expectancy.
  • You are the lower-earning spouse, and your higher-earning spouse can wait to file for a higher benefit.

Consider waiting to take benefits if . . .

  • You are still working and make enough to impact the taxability of your benefits.
  • Either you or your spouse are in good health and expect to exceed average life expectancy.
  • You are the higher-earning spouse and want to be sure your surviving spouse receives the highest possible benefit.

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How Will My Social Security Benefits Be Calculated

YourSocial Security benefits are based on your 35 highest-earning years of employment. There are a few adjustments made to account for inflation. If you have worked less than the requisite 35 years, you will likely see lower Social Security benefits in retirement.

The Social Security Administration calculated your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME to determine your final Social Benefits. The AIME is computed by dividing the sum of all your indexed wages by 420. Eventually, your actual Social Security benefit amount is calculated based on various factors, such as the age at which you start collecting benefits. Remember, the SSA will lower your benefits if you start taking them before full retirement age.

How Can I Get My Social Security Estimated Benefits?

Even if you are a long way from retiring, getting an estimate of your future Social Security benefits can be helpful. For those closer to full retirement age, you will likely want to check your Social Security benefits annually. You can register to view your official Social Security work history and estimated future Social Security benefits on the SSA site. Setting up an account is free.

Social Security Auxiliary Benefits

In addition to the individual benefit the primary earner can claim, eligible family members each can claim auxiliary benefits of up to 50% of the primary earners benefits. The maximum family benefit comes into play when two or more family members claim auxiliary benefits based on one primary earners record.

For example, say a familys primary breadwinner retires at full retirement age and is eligible for a benefit of $2,000 a month. A non-working spouse with no earnings record who has reached full Social Security retirement age can claim an auxiliary benefit of $1,000 a month, equal to 50% of the primary breadwinners earnings record.

Combining the primary breadwinners $2,000 benefit with the spouses $1,000 auxiliary benefit makes a total of $3,000 in Social Security benefits for one family. There is no need to figure the maximum family benefit here, because it only applies when two or more family members claim benefits based on one persons earning record.

Now lets say also that the couple has an adult child who, because of a disability, is also eligible to be paid 50% of the primary breadwinners benefit. This would come to another $1,000 and, added to the benefits paid to the primary breadwinner and non-working spouse, bring the familys total benefit to $4,000.

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How To Suspend Social Security Retirement Benefits

It is easy to suspend your retirement benefits at any time after full retirement age but before age 70. You can call the Social Security office or send a letter requesting to suspend benefits. It will take a month for the request to go into action, so if you ask to suspend benefits in October, you will receive your October benefits in November but will not receive a payment in December.

You can also make a request in advance to suspend benefits for a future date. In other words, you can request in May to suspend benefits beginning in December. You cannot request to suspend benefits before you reach full retirement age or after the age of 70.

What Are Social Security Benefits

How Social Security Benefits are Taxed

Social Security benefits are payments made to qualified retired adults and people with disabilities, and to their spouses, children, and survivors. Social Securityofficially the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program in the U.S.is a comprehensive federal benefits program designed to provide partial replacement income for retired adults and their spouses, those whose spouse or qualifying ex-spouse has died, and people with disabilities. Under specified conditions, it also supports the children of beneficiaries.

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What Income Reduces Your Social Security Benefits

Income that contributes to your yearly earnings limit, which can reduce your benefit amount, include wages paid to you for working and net earnings from self-employment. Income that does not reduce benefits includes interest, annuities, capital gains, investment earnings, pensions, and other government benefits.

Social Security: What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit You Can Receive In 2023

The 8.7% Social Security cost-of-living adjustment that goes into effect in 2023 will boost payments across the board for recipients including those who receive the maximum benefit this year.

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The average Social Security benefit will rise by more than $140 a month, the Social Security Administration said in a press release last week. The increase will be about double that for beneficiaries at full retirement age who already get the maximum benefit.

The maximum Social Security benefit you can get depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $3,345 a month, according to the SSA. If you retire at age 62 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $2,364 a month. If you retire at age 70 the latest age you can begin collecting Social Security your maximum benefit would be $4,194.

Those amounts will all move higher next year thanks to the biggest annual COLA in more than four decades. According to a Fact Sheet on the SSA website, the maximum Social Security benefit for someone retiring at full retirement age will rise to $3,627 a month in 2023 from $3,345 in 2022 an increase of $282.

The Supplemental Security Income federal payment standard will rise to $914 a month in 2023 from $841 in 2022 for individuals, and rise to $1,371 a month in 2023 from $1,261 a month in 2022 for couples.

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How Much Will My Spouse Receive

If your spouse qualifies for benefits on their own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your record is higher, they will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

If they begin receiving benefits:

If your spouse will receive a pension for work not covered by Social Security such as government employment, the amount of their Social Security benefits on your record may be reduced.

at any age

Benefits paid to your spouse will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits they may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.

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