Planning for Social Security
Are you planning ahead for those “golden years” of retirement? It pays to begin the research now to determine what age is suitable for you to retire from your employment. Many people are depending on Social Security to help ease the burden of financial woes during retirement years.
How do you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits? By earning “credits” when you work and pay Social Security taxes. If you were born in 1929 or later, you would be required to have 40 credits (10 years of work) to receive retirement benefits. Currently, about 10,000 people reach retirement age daily. You have the ability to view many sources of retirement publications and information on the following websites or choose to join 14 million people who have opened a personal mySocialSecurity account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
For the average worker, about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income is replaced by Social Security. The website www.socialsecurity.gov/retire has a retirement planner for your use to answer questions and help you prepare financially for this life-changing decision. (Some financial experts believe you may need up to 70-80 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.)
In the past, Social Security sent our earnings history in the mail annually. After age 60, you will receive a Social Security statement every year in the mail about three months before your birthday, unless you have a mySocialSecurity account online. Your complete earnings history is shown, which will allow you to verify the accuracy of your earnings. Your benefit amount is based on your earnings over your lifetime.
Your actual earnings are adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. They apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age – 65 or older, depending on date of birth.
Age to receive full Social Security benefits
Year of birth Full retirement age 1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 and later 67
NOTE: People who were born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year.
Achieving the maximum Social Security benefit would depend upon the age that you choose to retire.
To help you understand how the maximum benefit is calculated, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf for an in-depth explanation.
For example, if you earned $$$ in social security benefits and you retired in 2014:
Retirement Age Maximum Benefit
62 $1,992-Reduced Benefit
Additional sources of information regarding retirement and Social Security:
Frequently Asked Questions website: www.ssa.gov/faq
For retirement benefit estimates: www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator
For information on Special Payments, such as; pension payments, annuities, interest or dividends:
For information on unemployment benefits as earnings:
For information on Social Security benefits and military service: www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm
For information on Social Security if disabled: www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dapproval4.htm
57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older are represented by women. A staggering 68 percent of women are beneficiaries aged 85 and older. There is a site specifically for women at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women which has information for widows, working women, wives, etc.
If you know anyone that is currently on Medicare, you may be able to help them if they are struggling financially. “Extra Help” with Medicare prescription costs is available if you have limited income (tied to the federal poverty level) and limited resources. To see if you qualify, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or pass along the website address to someone you can help.
Another website address is www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp or you can call Social Security’s toll-free number.
Many people are contemplating retirement and have questions which are unanswered. The websites listed in this article can be used as resources for you to begin your investigation regarding retirement.