“How much social security will I get?” Many people ask this while planning their retirement. And hopefully, you ask yourself this before it’s too late to start saving for retirement. The SSA (Social Security Administration) states: “Social Security benefits are not intended to be your only income source when you retire. You will need other savings, investments, pensions, or retirement accounts to live comfortably.” Many things factor into how much social security I will get, including:
- Whether you QUALIFY for Social Security retirement benefits (e.g If you have enough work credits — usually takes at least 10 years). Note: Your spouse may be able to qualify for some benefits based on your earnings — more info below.
- Your lifetime EARNINGS (your benefit amount is a percentage of the adjusted average of your highest-earning 35 years of work)
- WHEN you start receiving benefits — You can elect to receive benefits as soon as age 62, but your benefits would be permanently reduced. If you wait until age 70 to receive benefits, your benefits would be increased.
How do you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits?
When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn “credits” toward benefits. Anyone born in 1929 or later, needs 40 credits (10 years of work). If you stop working before you have enough credits to qualify for benefits, the credits will remain on your Social Security record. If you return to work later, you can add more credits to qualify. The SSA won’t pay any retirement benefits until you have the required number of credits (unless you are receiving spousal benefits — see below).
Verify Your Earnings History
The amount of the benefits you or your family receives depends on the amount of earnings shown on your record. Regularly checking your SSA earnings history can help ensure there are no surprises when it’s time for you to start receiving benefits. You can find your earnings history on your annual Social Security Statement. Create a free my Social Security account to check your earnings history online.
How much social security will I get?
Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. Your actual earnings are adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then, the SSA calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. The SSA applies a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit, or “primary insurance amount.” This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age — 65 or older, depending on your date of birth. You can increase your benefits by waiting until age 70 to begin taking benefits.
The EASIEST way to find out “how much Social Security will I get?”
Even if you aren’t of retirement age, you can plan for retirement now. Workers age 18 and older can also go online, create a personal account, and review their Social Security Statement. Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount to review your Statement to ensure your earnings record is correct. This is how your benefits are computed.
Estimate Your Benefits
Knowing what you will get every month in retirement benefits will help you plan for your retirement. The Retirement Calculator within my Social Security allows you to get personalized retirement benefits estimates based on your actual earnings. This makes it easy to see how changes in the date or age at which you begin receiving retirement benefits will affect your future income.
If you do not want to create a “my Social Security account”
Benefits For Your Spouse
Even if they have never worked under Social Security, your spouse may be eligible for benefits if they are at least 62 years of age and you are receiving retirement or disability benefits. Your spouse can also qualify for Medicare at age 65.
How Much Will My Spouse Receive?
If your spouse qualifies for benefits on their own record, the SSA 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:
- Between age 62 and their full retirement age, the amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months up to their full retirement age.
- If your spouse is under full retirement age and:
- Works while receiving benefits, their benefits may be affected by the retirement earnings test.
- Also qualifies on their own record, their application will include both benefits.
- At their full retirement age, the spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your full retirement amount.
More about spouse social security retirement benefits.
What Age Should You Start To Receive Benefits?
The age you begin collecting your retirement benefit affects how much you will receive. There are three important things to know about the age when thinking about when to start your benefits.
Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is the age when you will be able to collect your full retirement benefit amount. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
Early Retirement Age
You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefit is reduced if you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age. Understand how claiming retirement benefits early will affect your benefit amount.
Wait until after 70
If you delay collecting benefits, the amount of your retirement benefit will continue to INCREASE up until age 70. There is no incentive to delay claiming after age 70.
What Else Affects Your Retirement Benefits
Everyone’s retirement is unique. Beyond deciding when to begin receiving retirement benefits, other factors that can affect your benefits include whether you continue to work, what type of job you had, and if you have a pension from certain jobs.
Continuing To Work
You can choose to keep working beyond your full retirement age. If you do, you can increase your future Social Security benefits. Each extra year you work adds another year of earnings to your earnings record. Higher lifetime earnings can mean higher benefits when you choose to receive benefits.
Specific Types Of Earnings
While Social Security earnings are calculated the same way for most American workers, there are some types of earnings that have additional rules:
- Farm Work
- Federal Government Employment
- Household Employment
- Military Service
- Nonprofit Or Religious Organizations
- State And Local Government Employment Wages
- Work Outside The United States
How much of Social Security is taxable?
Up to 85% of Social Security income is taxable for federal purposes (each state has different rules). The taxable percentage is based on how much other income you have from other sources (wages, self-employment, interest, dividends, and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return). More about the taxability of benefits here.
How much social security will I receive? One Part of Retirement Planning
Social Security should be just one part of your retirement plan. You’ll need to plan and save for years to achieve your retirement goals. As you make your retirement plan, knowing the approximate amount you will receive in Social Security benefits can help you determine how much other retirement income you’ll need to reach your goals.
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