If you are nearing retirement age, you will most likely entertain two major questions: (1) What amount will I receive in benefits from Social Security? (2) When should I take retirement and apply for Social Security retirement benefits?
Eligibility For Receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits.
As you work and pay taxes, you earn Social Security work credits. In 2023, you receive one work credit for every $1,640 that you earn but you can earn a maximum of only 4 work credits per year. Each year, the amount of earnings needed to earn work credit goes up slightly as the average earnings level increases. The credits that you earn remain on your work credit even if you quit or switch a job or have no earnings for a while.
Most people need a minimum of 40 work credits, that is, at least 10 work years to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.
When Will You Start Receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits?
You are entitled to your full Social Security retirement benefits if you retire at the Full Retirement Age (FRA), or what is also called the Normal Retirement Age (NRA). This age varies according to your date of birth.
For anyone born between 1943 and 1954, the Full Retirement Age is 66 years. Then, it gradually increases every year from 1955 onwards. For those born in 1955, the FRA is set at 66 years and 2 months. Thereafter, it gradually increases every year till it reaches 67 years for those born in 1960 or later.
Therefore, if you are born in 1965, you would be entitled to 100 percent benefits on retirement only if you retire at the age of 67 years.
On the basis of different retirement ages for different years of birth, the following retirement age chart can be prepared:
Delayed Retirement or Early Retirement
You can claim retirement benefits as early as age 62 or at your full retirement age or even after attaining the FRA. If you claim retirement benefits at age 62, your retirement benefits would be reduced by 25% for the rest of your life. The way retirement benefits are structured, you would face a 6% cut for every year by which you take an early retirement.
On the other hand, delaying your claim for retirement benefits beyond the full retirement age will enhance your monthly benefits. In case you delay claiming past your normal retirement age, you will get a delayed credit of about 8% per year on top of cost-of-living adjustments on a yearly basis.
What Amount Will I Receive From Social Security?
Social Security retirement benefits are calculated based on your highest 35 years of income. To qualify for retirement benefits, you need to earn Social Security’s maximum taxable income for 35 years. The upper ceiling, which is subjected to Social Security tax, has been set at $160,200 in 2023, as against $147,000 in 2022.
Social Security retirement benefits are calculated by combining your 35 highest paid years of income, if you have worked for more than 35 years. All wages are indexed to account for inflation and wages from previous years are multiplied by a factor based on the years when they were earned.
Once all wages are indexed, your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) is computed by dividing the sum of all indexed wages by 420, that is, 35 years translated into number of months. If your work years are less than 35, then zero will be added in calculation for the earnings of the remaining years.
Computation of your Social Security retirement income uses a complex formula, and you might need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Social Security benefits lawyer to calculate them properly.
You can obtain your Social Security statement by creating an account at www.ssa.gov. Your statement carries valuable information, including the following:
- 1). Your estimated benefit amount at the FRA
- 2). Eligibility for benefits
- 3). Detailed information of your earnings history and the work credits that you have accumulated.
However, the figures in your statement are just an estimate, and the benefit you would receive would be different, especially if you are young and there are several years left before you reach your FRA.
Contact An Experienced and Knowledgeable Social Security Benefits Lawyer at London Eligibility
If you want to calculate the Social Security disability benefits that you will receive at your retirement and decide when you should retire, speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer at London Eligibility may help. Contact us today for a free consultation and claim review.