Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Most people know that you pay tax into the Social Security Trust Fund throughout your career, but some retirees don’t realize that you also have to pay tax on your Social Security benefits once you start taking them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then.
It doesn’t take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. For example, a married couple with a combined income of more than $32,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Higher earners may have to pay income tax on up to 85% of their benefits.
You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
When Will You Collect
The SSA calculates your benefit amount at your full retirement age . This depends on the year you were born. FRA by birth year is:
- 19431954: age 66
- 1955: age 66 and two months
- 1956: age 66 and four months
- 1957: age 66 and six months
- 1958: age 66 and eight months
- 1959: age 66 and 10 months
- 1960 and later: age 67
The monthly amount you are eligible to receive at your FRA is considered your full benefit, but it is not your minimum or maximum benefit.
You have the option to file for early retirement as early as age 62. But, you may choose to delay taking your benefits until as late as age 70.
There are many reasons why you might choose to take early retirement or to delay it. That choice has a direct impact on the amount of your monthly payment. If you opt for early retirement, you are choosing a lower monthly payment for the rest of your life. By choosing to delay your benefit to any age between your FRA and age 70, you lock in an increase.
How Do I Apply For Medicare Benefits
If you are already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or railroad retirement checks, Social Security will contact you a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and give you the information you need to register. You should sign up for Medicare even if you dont plan to retire at age 65, or you may be penalized a 10% premium surcharge for each year past age 65 that you do not have Medicare. However, if you are age 65 or older and are covered under a group health plan either from your own employment or you are covered from your spouses employment, you may delay enrolling in Medicare medical insurance without having to wait for a general enrollment period or pay the 10% premium surcharge for late employment. The rules allow you to:
- Enroll in Part B any time you are covered under the group health plan, or
- Enroll in Part B during an eight-month special enrollment period that begins with the month your group health coverage ends or the month your employment ends, whichever comes first
I disagree with the SSAs decision on my claim. How can I appeal? Please visit www.ssa.gov/pubs/10041.html or call 1-800-772-1213 to file an appeal. All appeals should be sent to your local office to find your local office, please visit www.ssa.gov/locator.
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You Can Still Get A Paper Social Security Statement
If you hate the idea of accessing your Social Security information online, theres still a way to get a paper statement. All you have to do is fill out Form SSA-7004 Request for Social Security Statement. After the Social Security Administration receives the form, you should expect to get a Social Security statement in four to six weeks.
Checking Your Application Status After Applying For Ssdi
If this is your first time applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you may be wondering how long it will take the Social Security Administration to receive, process, and make a decision on your application.
According to the SSA, it can take from 30 days to 90 days to come to a decision on an initial application. However, its worth noting that its not uncommon for this process to take as long as six months. This can happen if your case needs additional verification, has errors, or if theres a large backlog of applications when you apply. Note: if your condition is severe enough, you may qualify for compassionate allowance, which will expedite this process.
When you first submit your SSDI application either online, by phone, or in person, the application will be forwarded to Disability Determination Services , which are federally-funded, state-run agencies. DDS will assign a claims examiner to your case. Following the receipt of your application, you or your attorney will receive a phone call and additional paperwork to complete. This will let you know that the process is moving forward.
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When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits
A secure comfortable retirement is every worker’s dream. And now because we are living longer healthier lives, we can expect to spend even more time in retirement than our parents and grandparents did. Hi, I am Mike Baksa of the Social Security Administration. As a Social Security representative, I am often asked what is the best age to start receiving retirement benefits? The answer is there really is no one best age for everyone. You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Your monthly benefit amount will be different depending on the age you start receiving it.
If you begin receiving benefits before your full retirement age, you will receive a reduced benefit. You can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so will result in lower benefits. On the other hand, starting your benefits after full retirement age may result in larger benefits. With delayed retirement credits you can receive your largest benefit by beginning to receive benefit payments at age 70. If you were born between 1943 and 1954 and are now considering retirement, the reduction for early retirement at age 62 is 25 percent. Then again, delaying benefits until age 70 results in an increase of 32 percent. The increase in full retirement age was the result of the 1983 amendments to the Social Security act by Congress.
What About Taxes On Social Security
Keep in mind that Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your “combined income.” Your combined income is equal to your adjusted gross income , plus non-taxable interest payments , plus half of your Social Security benefit.
As your combined income increases above a certain threshold , more of your benefit is subject to income tax, up to a maximum of 85%. For help, talk with a CPA or tax professional.
In any case, if you’re still working, you may want to postpone Social Security either until you reach your full retirement age or until your earned income is less than the annual limit. In no situation should you postpone benefits past age 70.
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How Do I Apply For Survivors Benefits
To apply for survivors benefits, please visit . A family member or other person responsible for the beneficiarys affairs should do the following:
- Promptly notify Social Security of the beneficiarys death by calling 1-800-772-1213
- If monthly benefits were being paid via direct deposit, notify the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiarys death. Request that any funds received after the death of the beneficiary be returned to Social Security as soon as possible.
- If benefits were being paid by check, DO NOT CASH any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. Return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible.
A one-time payment of $255 is payable to the surviving spouse if he was living with the beneficiary at the time of death, OR if living apart, was eligible for Social Security benefits on the beneficiarys earnings record for the month of death. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who was eligible for benefits on the beneficiarys earnings record in the month of death. Monthly survivors benefits can be paid to certain family members, including the beneficiarys widow or widower, dependent children and dependent parents.
How To Check The Status Of My Social Security Application
So it’s time to apply for Social Security benefits. If you’re like most of us, it still comes as a surprise when you reach this point. Whether you’ve decided to apply for partial benefits at 62 or wait until you reach full retirement age, getting money every month for doing nothing feels weird. But the weirdness will wear off and looking back over the long hours you put in and difficult bosses you had to deal with, it starts feeling good and well-deserved.
How To Set Up A My Social Security Account
The first step is visiting the my Social Security website. Make sure this is the website you are accessing, as it is the official Social Security Administration website.
To sign up, you need to have a valid email address, be at least 18 years old, have a valid U.S. mailing address, and have a Social Security number. Simply navigate to the Create an Account page and get started filling out the requested information. Youll have to answer some personal questions to verify your identity. These questions usually pertain to your or other historical information that only you will know in detail. They asked us information about our past addresses and our credit.
How To Estimate Your Social Security Income
Two facts are knownSocial Security benefits are not guaranteed, and some changes will be necessary to keep the system solvent in the future as millions of baby boomers retire and begin to receive their Social Security benefits. Though these facts create uncertainty, its also true that the quality of your retirement depends on your planningand you must start planning somewhere.
A good starting point is to figure out the dollar amount of the retirement benefits to which all of your years of Social Security contributions entitle you under current law. There are four ways to do this:
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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.
Why A Social Security Earnings Record Mistake Matters
A mistake in your earnings history can make a big difference in how your Social Security benefits are calculated. How? It all goes back to the benefits formula. The Social Security Administration uses your highest 35 years of earnings as a cornerstone of the benefit calculation. If any of these 35 years are incorrect or missing altogether, the average is skewed. One year of missing earnings can make a difference of $100 per month in your benefit amount. Over your lifetime, that could be nearly $30,000 in missed benefits from one year of missing earnings.
You need to check your Social Security earnings record today. Thankfully, its pretty easy to do.
Heres how to accomplish this in five easy steps.
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Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.
How Should I Decide When To Take Benefits
Consider the following factors as you decide when to take Social Security.
Your cash needs: If you’re contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources , you can be flexible about when to take Social Security benefits.
If you’ll need your Social Security benefits to make ends meet, you may have fewer options. If possible, you may want to consider postponing retirement or work part-time until you reach your full retirement ageor even longer so that you can maximize your benefits.
Your life expectancy and break-even age: Taking Social Security early reduces your benefits, but you’ll also receive monthly checks for a longer period of time. On the other hand, taking Social Security later results in fewer checks during your lifetime, but the credit for waiting means each check will be larger.
At what age will you break even and begin to come out ahead if you delay Social Security? The break-even age depends on the amount of your benefits and the assumptions you use to account for taxes and the opportunity cost of waiting . The SSA has several handy calculators you can use to estimate your own benefits.
If you think you’ll beat the average life expectancy, then waiting for a larger monthly check might be a good deal. On the other hand, if you’re in poor health or have reason to believe you won’t beat the average life expectancy, you might decide to take what you can while you can.
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How Do You Calculate Your Social Security Taxes
“Social Security taxes” can refer to taxes paid into the Social Security system or taxes paid on Social Security benefits. The taxes that fund Social Security come from the payroll tax, which is 6.2% for employees or 12.4% for self-employed individuals.
When you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll still have to pay income taxes, but you won’t owe taxes on all of your benefits. Those whose total annual income tops $34,000 will pay income tax on 85% of their Social Security benefits. Otherwise, they will pay income tax on 50% of their Social Security benefits.
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
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Primary Insurance Amount Calculation
For 2022, the SSA established the first bend point as $1,024 and the second bend point as $6,172. Using the AIME from the earlier example of $10,141 and the bend points, we can calculate the primary insurance amount .
Below are the steps to calculating the PIA:
- Multiply the first $1,024 of the person’s AIME by 90% = $921.60
- Subtract the 1st and 2nd bend point and multiply that difference by 32% = $5,148*.32 = $1,647.35*
- Subtract the 2nd bend point amount from the total AIME amount and multiply the difference by 15%. = $3,969*.15 = $595.35
*Please note that the calculation results are required to be rounded down to the next lower multiple of 10 cents.
- The PIA is the sum of the three calculation results: = $3,164.30
*The multipliers90%, 32%, and 15%are set by law and do not change annually. The bend points are inflation-indexed but only through age 62. PIA is effectively locked in at age 62.
What’s Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is when you’re eligible to receive full Social Security benefits. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year: Under current law, if you were born in 1955 or later, your full retirement age can be anywhere between age 66 and 2 monthsall the way up to age 67 for those born after 1959. If you were born before 1955, you’ve already reached age 66 and full retirement age.
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How Is Social Security Calculated
There is a three-step process used to calculate the amount of Social Security benefits you will receive.
Step 1: Use your earnings history to calculate your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings .Step 2: Use your AIME to calculate your primary insurance amount .Step 3: Use your PIA, and adjust it for the age when you will begin receiving benefits.
You can use a copy of your Social Security statement that provides your earnings history to plug your own numbers into the formulas below.
How Do I Apply For Supplemental Security Income
SSI is an income assistance program administered by the SSA for people who are elderly , blind, or disabled or whose income follows these guidelines: . For the most current information on SSI requirements, please call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visit . You can generally expect an answer on whether you are eligible for SSI within two to six months.
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