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How Do They Figure Social Security Benefits

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How To Calculate Your Social Security Benefits: A Step

How To Calculate Social Security Benefits [3 Easy Steps]

Its important for you to have a clear understanding of the process used to calculate your Social Security benefits. If you understand this calculation, you may be able to spot mistakes and fix them before its too late.

Like anything with Social Security, the rules can seem complex at first. But once you get under the surface, they are actually pretty easy to understand. To help you, I distilled the several pages of calculation rules down into four easy-to-understand steps.

What About My Ex

Spousal benefits for divorced spouses are affected by the Bipartisan Budget Act, too. Previously, divorced spouses who were married for 10 years or more could claim reduced auxiliary benefits from their exs record when they reached age 62, or full auxiliary benefits when they reached full retirement age, all while letting their own benefits grow. Thats no longer the case as of April 30, 2016.

If youre divorced and you turn 62 on or before January 1, 2016, you can still file a Restricted Application and receive your divorced spousal benefits, waiting until age 70 to claim your primary retirement benefits. But those who arent in that age group will no longer be able to claim spousal benefits without claiming their primary benefits. Like still-married spouses, ex-spouses will be assumed to be claiming all their benefits when they first file.

Note that a divorced spouse married for 10 years or more can claim full auxiliary benefits on their exs record at any age if he or she is caring for the dependent minor child of the ex-spouse.

Also, the divorced spousal benefit for people whose ex-spouses are still alive is lower than the divorced widows benefit.

If you remarry, it doesnt keep your ex from being eligible to claim benefits on your record. But having an ex who is claiming benefits on your record wont keep your new spouse from being able to claim benefits either.

Can I Use The Calculator To Figure Out Social Security Disability Insurance And Supplemental Security Income

No. SSDI is aimed at people who cant work because they have a medical condition expected to last a year or more or result in death. Your SSDI benefits last only as long as you suffer from a significant medical impairment while not earning significant other income.

SSI is a separate program for people with little or no income or assets who are 65 or older, as well as for those of any age, including children, who are blind or who have disabilities. The maximum monthly SSI payment for 2021 is $794 for a single person and $1,191 for a couple. But some states add to that payment, and you may receive less than the maximum if you or your family has other income. Get more information about SSDI and SSI from the Social Security Administration.

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Social Security Disability Programs

In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits to people who are disabled or blind.

Social Security Disability Insurance Program
SSDI supports disabled or blind individuals by providing benefits based on their workers contributions to the Social Security trust fund. Your contributions are based on your earnings or your spouses or parents earnings while in the workforce. Your dependents may also be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings.
Supplemental Security Income Program
SSI benefits are paid out as cash assistance to people with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind or disabled. These benefits may also include blind or disabled children. SSI payments are a federal benefit funded by the general fund of the United States not the Social Security trust fund. Some states provide additional state supplemental benefits in addition to the federal SSI payments.

In some cases, people may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these concurrent benefits. This can happen when a disability qualifies you for Social Security Disability Benefits, but you only get a small amount of monthly SSDI benefits. This may qualify you to receive SSI benefits as well.

Comparing SSDI and SSI Programs

FEATURE
Up to 85%

Income Taxes for Other Benefit Programs

How To Get A Copy Of Your Social Security Statement

Is Social Security Income Taxable in 2020?

The SSA mails out Social Security Statements to follks age 25 and over before their birthdays during their 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 years. For those age 60 until retirement, the SSA will send out statements every year. You can also go online to get a copy of your statement or view it online. Go to www.ssa.gov/mystatement/ and open an account with Social Security to view your statement.

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Check The Social Security Administration’s Math

Your statement includes a record of the earnings on which you’ve paid taxes and an estimate of the benefits you will receive at various retirement ages: 62, 67, and 70. It is always wise for you to check the SSA’s numbers. Don’t be surprised if you uncover an error. Some government-watchers estimate that the SSA makes mistakes on at least 3% of the total official earnings records it keeps.

When you check your record, make sure that the Social Security number noted on your earnings statement is your own, and make sure the earned income amounts listed on the agency’s records mesh with your own records of earnings as listed on your income tax forms or pay stubs.

How To Check Your Earnings Record

How might check your earnings record? In the past, Social Security mailed you a statement that contained your earnings record and benefit estimate. Today, however, you need to create a my Social Security account to review your earnings record. You can do that at .

When checking whether your earnings record is correct or not, keep the following in mind. One, theres no statute of limitations on correcting errors related to wages, according to Kurt Czarnowski, a principal at Czarnowski Consulting.

A person needs to provide proof of what the correct amount of earnings was, Czarnowski said at a recent National Association of Personal Financial Advisors conference. But even if it’s something back in 1976, if happen to have W-2, can make that correction.

Thats not true, however, when it comes to correcting self-employment income errors on your Social Security statement. You have only three years, three months and 15 days to correct those errors, Czarnowski explained.

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Financial Eligibility For Ssi

Your income requirements for SSI depend on the state in which you live. You must have a very low monthly income, and approximately half of your current income is taken into account. The amount is set by your particular state, and it is usually between $700 and $1400 per month, and some states allow individuals with higher incomes to still qualify for SSI. You must own less than $2,000 in property for individuals, or $3,000 for a couple.

In addition to these financial requirements, you must be disabled, blind or over the age of 65. You must also be a citizen of the United States or meet very specific requirements based on military service, U.S. permanent residency, or refugee or political asylum status.

If you are disabled and are approved for SSI, you are also normally able to participate in the Medicaid program in your state, as well the food stamp program. There are specific state stipulations that must be met for these programs.

How To Calculate Social Security Benefits

Video: How To Calculate Social Security Benefits

This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow’s legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 57,271 times.

Understanding how much you’ll receive each month in Social Security benefits is a big part of retirement planning. The average is around $16,000 a year, but the actual amount you’ll receive depends on how much money you’ve put into the system. The Social Security Administration and other groups have online calculators that can help you estimate your benefits, but to calculate them more exactly you’ll have to calculate your average indexed monthly earnings to find your primary insurance amount. This amount must then be adjusted up or down to account for the age you decide to retire.XResearch source

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Social Security Calculation Step : Aime Calculation

Now, all you have to do is extract the highest 35 years of indexed earnings.

If youre still working and dont have 35 years, youll need to estimate what your future earnings will be and apply the indexing factors just as you would for actual historical earnings. This is where you can start to play around with the numbers to see the various impacts of retiring early, or working later or maybe having variable earnings close to retirement.

Once you have your highest 35 years in the last column, you just need to sum them up and divide by 420. You divide by 420 because thats the number of months in 35 years and we need to get your average earnings expressed as a monthly number.

Once you do this, congratulationsyou have your AIME and have finished the first step of the calculation. Its downhill from here.

NOTE: If you die before accumulating 35 years of earnings, there is an alternate calculation. See my article If You Die Early: How To Calculate Social Security Survivors Benefits.

How Your Ssdi Payments Are Calculated

The severity of your disability will not affect the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. The Social Security Administration will determine your payment based on your lifetime average earnings before you became disabled. Your benefit amount will be calculated using your covered earnings. These are your earnings at jobs where your employer took money out of your wages for Social Security or FICA.

Your SSDI monthly benefit will be based on your average covered earnings over a period of time, which is referred to as your average indexed monthly earnings . The SSA uses these amounts in a formula to determine your primary insurance amount . This is the basic amount used to establish your benefit.

SSDI payments range on average between $800 and $1,800 per month. The maximum benefit you could receive in 2020 is $3,011 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate of your monthly benefits.

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Are Benefits Paid Retroactively

No one wants to interrupt their grieving process to fill out forms and wrangle with bureaucracy. Unfortunately, though, the Social Security Administration does not make retroactive payments after a period longer than six months. If you wait more than six months to claim Social Security death benefits, you will not be entitled to back payment for the time over six months. So it pays to make your benefit claim appointment promptly.

What If I Delay Taking My Benefits

Taxes on Social Security

If you retire sometime between your full retirement age and age 70, you typically earn a “delayed retirement” credit . For example, say you were born in 1955 and your full retirement age is 66 and 2 months. If you started your benefits at age 68, you would receive a credit of 8% per year multiplied by approximately two . This makes your benefit ~15% higher than the amount you would have received at age 66.

That higher baseline lasts for the rest of your retirement and serves as the basis for future increases linked to inflation. While it’s important to consider your personal circumstancesit’s not always possible to wait, particularly if you are in poor health or can’t afford to delaythe benefits of waiting can be significant.

If you decide to wait past age 65, you may still need to sign up for Medicare. In some circumstancesyour Medicare coverage may be delayed and cost more if you do not sign up at age 65.

Effect of late retirement on benefits

1.Represents Full Retirement Age based on DOB Jan. 2, 1955

2.PIA = The primary insurance amount is the basis for benefits that are paid to an individual

To review your situation, your annual Social Security statement will list your projected benefits at age 62, full retirement age, and age 70, assuming you continue to work and earn about the same amount until age 62, full retirement age, or age 70 before retiring. If you need a copy of your annual statement, you can request one from the Social Security Administration .

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Claiming Social Security Benefits At The Right Time Means More Money In Your Pocket Here’s A Guide To Everything From Knowing Your Full Retirement Age To Taking Social Security Spousal Benefits

For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income so maximizing this stream of income is critical.

The rules for claiming Social Security benefits can be complex, but this guide will help you successfully navigate the details. Educating yourself can ensure that you claim the maximum amount to which you are entitled.

Here are 12 essential details you need to know.

How Is Social Security Disability Calculated

by Jason BarilMay 8, 2017

How Is Social Security Disability Calculated?

The Social Security Administration maintains two distinct disability benefit programs, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income , and calculates each benefit differently. In this article, we review the basic formulas the SSA uses when determining benefit amounts for disabled applicants and provide examples to demonstrate how Social Security disability is calculated.

For specific information about your benefits or for help applying for disability, call the Disability Advantage Group at for a free consultation.

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When You Choose To Start Taking Social Security Benefits

The yearand even the month within that yearthat you choose to begin taking Social Security benefits affects how much you receive each month. You can start claiming Social Security benefits early as age 62, the current early retirement age. But you wont get your full PIA. Itll be reduced based on how many months you have until your full retirement age. This reduction can really add up, topping in at as high as 30% for particularly early claimers.

You can avoid these surcharges on your PIA, of course, simply by waiting to start payments until your full retirement age. This is generally between ages 66 and 67, depending on when you were born.

You can even add onto your base amount by delaying when you start benefits. After you reach full retirement age, you can boost your benefits by up to 8% of your PIA annually simply by not claiming Social Security. These benefit increases are known as delayed retirement credits, and you can accrue them up to age 70.

An important note: These benefit rate changes are performed to provide roughly the same cumulative benefit over a lifetime, assuming a roughly average lifespan. In other words, if you start Social Security earlier, youll probably claim it for longer someone with the same lifespan who delayed payments would claim them for less time. To provide them the same total benefit, earlier payments must be smaller and later benefits have to be larger to catch up.

Checklist For Your Social Security Claiming Strategy

How to Calculate Your Social Security Benefits
  • Know your numbers. Find out your FRA, earnings history, and estimated benefits.
  • Stay current. Sign up for your most current statements on SSA.gov.
  • Do the math. Use calculators on SSA.gov to check out your monthly benefit options.
  • Get the facts. Don’t succumb to myths use primary resources such as SSA.gov.

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How To Calculate The Social Security Breakeven Age

Your Social Security breakeven age is the point in your life when the total of those lower benefits comes to equal the total of benefits that you would have received if you had waited to take your benefits at FRA, or even later.

For example, if you were born in 1960, your FRA is 67. If you choose to begin receiving Social Security income at age 62, which will be in 2022, then your FRA benefit will be reduced by 30%. Assuming that the full monthly benefit would be $1,000, you will be left with a monthly Social Security check of only $700.

If a co-worker with the same birth date and similar earnings history elects to receive their benefit at FRA five years later, then their benefit will be $1,000 each month. For the first five years, you received a total of $42,000 , while your co-worker received nothing, so you are ahead. Once your co-worker starts receiving benefits, however, they get $300 more each monthor $3,600 more each yearthan you do. So when will your co-worker catch up to you in total benefits?

Lets divide the amount by which you are ahead by the higher amount per year that your co-worker receives. The answer is when you are both 78 years and eight months, or 11.67 years after your FRA. After this point, your co-worker will earn more over their lifetime than you will.

A Complex Weighted Formula Is Used To Calculate Your Disability Benefits

Every SSDI recipient receives a unique amount of money. Your SSDI benefits are based on the income that you have paid Social Security taxes on in the past. This income is called your covered earnings. The average of your covered earnings over several years is called your average indexed monthly earnings .

You can view your covered earnings history by visiting www.ssa.gov/mystatement or you can check your Social Security statement which is sent every five years to those under the age of 60.

The more money that you have earned and paid Social Security taxes on, the higher the amount that you are eligible to receive in disability payments. However, it is important to note that there are maximums in place in spite of the applicants earnings. The maximum benefit as of 2015 is $2,663 per month, and most people receive between $1000 and $1200 per month in benefits on average.

Once your AIME is calculated, a formula is applied to your AIME to calculate your primary insurance amount . Using your PIA, the Social Security Administration can calculate your monthly benefit amount.

This may seem complicated, and you are not expected to calculate your disability benefits on your own. You can contact the SSA or your local Social Security office to get an accurate estimate of your potential monthly benefits for SSDI. A representative will ask you questions about your past earnings and other relevant questions and calculate your estimated benefit for you.

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