How to Determine My Social Security Retirement Benefits

My Social Security retirement income is perhaps one of the least understood aspects of retirement income, yet there is quite a bit of public domain information available on the topic..

Before doing anything else, you (and your spouse) need to each set up FREE, separate accounts on the Social Security Administration website, if you have not done so already and keep your social safe.

By creating an account on this site, you will be able to ascertain the following information pertinent to your monthly SS benefits:

  • You can view what your estimated monthly SS benefits at age 62 will be (current Early Retirement age as of the publishing of this article);
  • You can view what your estimated monthly SS benefits at your Full Retirement age will be (this age is dependent on your date of birth, but the current maximum Full Retirement age is 67, as of the publishing of this article);
  • You can view what your estimated monthly SS benefits at age 70 will be (the current latest age that you can defer benefits until, as of the publishing of the article);
  • You can view SS disability monthly benefits that you are eligible to receive, if you were to become disabled;
  • You can view the Survivor’s monthly benefits that your family would be eligible to receive, should you die;
  • You can view your annual earnings since you started paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, which has been furnished to the Social Security Administration by the IRS. Please make sure that these annual amounts are correct and consistent with your past tax returns, since these amounts directly affect your expected monthly SS benefits. If they are not correct, please contact the Social Security Administration immediately, with the necessary corrections (you will need written proof to ensure that appropriate adjustments are made).

The SS Administration uses your highest 35 years of earnings to calculate your monthly benefit. You must work a minimum of 10 years (or 40 quarters), to be eligible for SS benefits.

Based on the above, as the law currently stands as of the publishing of this article, you can collect monthly SS benefits as a retiree starting as early as age 62, and as late as age 70. As a matter of fact, currently deferring your Social Security monthly benefit beyond your Full Retirement Age, can yield an additional 8% of monthly benefit per year to your SS check, up to the age of 70. If you elect to start collecting your benefits prior to your Full Retirement Age (specified to you on the Social Security Administration website), your monthly benefit amount will be reduced from your Full Retirement Age amount by a “factor” determined by the Social Security Administration. If you elect to start collecting your benefits after your Full Retirement Age is reached, you will analogously received an increased monthly amount from your Full Retirement Age amount, by a “factor” determined by the Social Security Administration.

 

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