Friday, May 20, 2022

How Do You Figure Out Social Security Benefits

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How Federal Taxes On Social Security Are Calculated

How To Calculate Social Security Benefits [3 Easy Steps]

If you’re trying figure out if your Social Security benefits will be taxed, the first thing you need to do is calculate your “provisional income.” Your provisional income is equal to the combined total of 50% of your Social Security benefits, your tax-exempt interest, and the other non-Social Security items that make up your adjusted gross income .

For single people, your Social Security benefits aren’t taxed if your provisional income is less than $25,000. The threshold is $32,000 if you’re married and filing a joint return. If your provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000 for a single filer, or from $32,000 to $44,000 for a joint filer, then up to 50% of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. If your provisional income is more than $34,000 on a single return, or $44,000 on a joint return, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable.

The IRS has a handy calculator that can help you determine whether your benefits are taxable.

Will Your Expenses Decrease After You Retire

Retirement could be more expensive than you expect.

If you’re planning an active retirement or carry a mortgage or other debt, retirement may be more expensive than you expect. Some regular expenses like your out-of-pocket health care costs will likely increase as you get older. You can protect your retirement lifestyle by reducing your largest expenses. You can also increase your regular income by claiming at your full Social Security benefit age or later. If you claim earlier, your monthly benefit could be reduced by as much as 30 percent.Create a retirement budget.

Retirement could be more expensive than you expect.

If you’re planning an active retirement or carry a mortgage or other debt, retirement may be more expensive than you expect. Some regular expenses like your out-of-pocket health care costs will likely increase as you get older. You can protect your retirement lifestyle by reducing your largest expenses. You can also increase your regular income by claiming at your full Social Security benefit age or later. If you claim earlier, your monthly benefit could be reduced by as much as 30 percent.Create a retirement budget.

Maintain your lifestyle by planning ahead.

Maintain your lifestyle by planning ahead.

Many people find retirement is more expensive than expected.

Many people find retirement is more expensive than expected.

Your Primary Insurance Amount

PIAs are complex to calculate and even harder to explain. The PIA is the sum of three separate percentages of portions of average indexed monthly earnings, states the SSA. Essentially, the SSA separates your AIME into three portions that it calls bend points:

  • Bend Point #1: Your first $885. They SSA will take 90 percent of this figure.
  • Bend Point #2: Your earnings between $885 and $5,336. The SSA takes 32 percent of these earnings.
  • Bend Point #3: Your earnings above $5,336. The SSA takes 15 percent of these earnings.

The sum of the three bend points will be your monthly disability benefit amount.

Example of Calculating Your PIA and Monthly SSDI Benefit

  • Lets say your AIME was $3,800/month.
  • Your PIA would be the sum of $796.5 for Bend Point #1 + $932.80 for Bend Point #2 .
  • You receive a grand total of $1,729/month for SSDI.

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Social Security Bend Points

The Social Security benefits formula is designed to replace a higher proportion of income for low-income earners than for high-income earners. To do that, the formula uses what are called bend points.” These bend points are adjusted for inflation each year.

Bend points from the year you turn 62 are used to calculate your Social Security retirement benefits. The example in the table below uses 2020 bend points. It works like this:

  • You take 90% of the first $906 of AIME.
  • You take 32% of the next $5,785 of AIME.
  • You take 15% of any amount over that $5,785.
  • You total those three numbers.

The result is your primary insurance amount, or PIA, the amount you will receive if you begin benefits at your Full Retirement Age .

Your PIA is rounded to the next lowest dime, and your benefit amount is rounded to the next lowest dollar.

Technically, your PIA is calculated, rounded to the next lowest dime, and then any inflation adjustments are applied. That number is then rounded to the next lowest dime. Then any increase or decrease based on age is applied. That number is then rounded down to the next lowest dollar.

You can see current and historical bend points and the current year’s bend points on the Bend Formula Bend Points page of the Social Security Administration’s website.

In the example in the table below, you can see how the AIME calculated in the previous step was plugged into the bend point formula to calculate the PIA.

How Does The Social Security Administration Calculate Benefits

How to Calculate Social Security Benefits: 13 Steps

Benefits also depend on how much money youâve earned in life. The Social Security Administration takes your highest-earning 35 years of covered wages and averages them, indexing for inflation. They give you a big fat âzeroâ for each year you donât have earnings, so people who worked for fewer than 35 years may see lower benefits.

The Social Security Administration also makes annual Cost of Living Adjustments, even as you collect benefits. That means the retirement income you collect from Social Security has built-in protection against inflation. For many people, Social Security is the only form of retirement income they have that is directly linked to inflation. Itâs a big perk that doesnât get a lot of attention.

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What Is The Future Of Social Security

If youre skeptical about the future of Social Security or wary of potential changes such as means testingwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits for the wealthy, or an increase in the full retirement ageyou may be tempted to start benefits early, under the assumption that its better to have something than nothing. The 2020 annual report from the Social Security Trustees, released in April, projects that the Social Security Trust Fund has enough resources to cover all promised retirement benefits until 2035, and will cover 79% of scheduled benefits for new retirees thereafter without changing the current system. The 2020 report does not include an adjusted projection due to impacts, if any, from the pandemic.

Over the longer term, changes such as later benefit dates or means testing may be considered.

In any situation, if youre particularly concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, thats a good reason to save more, and earlier, for your retirement.

Get Ssa Benefits While Living Overseas

U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.

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When Can I Start Collecting Social Security

The minimum age to claim benefits is 62. If you are turning 62 and need the income from Social Security to support yourself, then you can start claiming your benefits now. However, if you have enough other income to keep you going until you are older, then you may want to delay to increase the size of your monthly benefit.

State Taxation Of Social Security Benefits

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In addition to federal taxes, some states tax Social Security benefits, too. The methods and extent to which states tax benefits vary. For example, New Mexico treats Social Security benefits the same way as the federal government. On the other hand, some states tax Social Security benefits only if income exceeds a specified threshold amount. Nebraska, for instance, taxes Social Security benefits only if your income is at least $43,000, or $58,000 if you’re married filing a joint return. Utah includes Social Security benefits in taxable income but allows a tax credit for a portion of the benefits subject to tax.

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Are You Eligible For Social Security

To be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must earn at least 40 credits over your working career. How those credits are calculated is complex, but you will likely qualify if you have worked for at least 10 years.

You may be entitled to a spousal benefit because of your partner’s work history. If your spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse has earned 40 credits, you may qualify. The Social Security Administration provides more info about this option.

But your work history is not only used as part of the qualification criteria it is also used to figure out the amount of your payment. In calculating your monthly retirement benefit, the SSA considers your highest-earning 35 years of work history. If you worked for less than 35 years, the SSA will use zero for some years.

The higher your earnings over those 35 years, the greater your contribution to the program through FICA taxes, and the higher your benefit will be.

The same threshold applies to both your earnings and your benefits. This amount is $142,800 in 2021.

Calculating Fica Taxes: An Example

An employee who makes $165,240 a year collects semi-monthly paychecks of $6,885 before taxes and any retirement-plan withholding. Though Medicare tax is due on the entire salary, only the first $142,800 is subject to the Social Security tax for 2021. Since $142,800 divided by $6,885 is 20.7, this threshold is reached after the 21st paycheck.

For the first 20 pay periods, therefore, the total FICA tax withholding is equal to + , or $526.70. Only the Medicare HI tax is applicable to the remaining four pay periods, so the withholding is reduced to $6,885 x 1.45%, or $99.83. In total, the employee pays $8,537.40 to Social Security and $2,395.98 to Medicare each year. Though it does not affect the employee’s take-home pay, the employer must contribute the same amount to both programs.

As mentioned above, those who are self-employed are considered both the employer and the employee for tax purposes, meaning they are liable for both contributions. In the example above, a self-employed person with the same salary pays $17,074.80 to Social Security and $4,791.96 to Medicare.

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Theres An Annual Social Security Cost

One of the most attractive features of Social Security benefits is that every year the government adjusts the benefit for inflation. Known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, this inflation protection can help you keep up with rising living expenses during retirement. The Social Security COLA is quite valuable its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can cost a pretty penny.

Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government. In 2021, Social Security beneficiaries will see a 1.3% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits.

The Kiplinger Letter forecast in March that the 2022 COLA would be 3%, which would be the largest increase since 2012 when Social Security benefits ticked up 3.6%.

Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:

  • 2009: 5.8%
  • 2021: 1.3%

How Do You Calculate Your Social Security Taxes

Social Security Spousal Benefits: What You Need To Know ...

“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.

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Are You On Track For The $3895 Max Social Security Benefit

    You’ll often hear that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to retire on Social Security alone. But if you’re in line for the maximum monthly benefit, you might manage to do a decent job of covering your bills.

    This year, the maximum monthly Social Security payday comes out to an impressive $3,895. And while most seniors aren’t eligible for it, here’s how to know if you’re the exception.

    Average The Highest 35 Years

    The Social Security benefits calculation uses your highest 35 years of earnings to calculate your average monthly earnings. If you do not have 35 years of earnings, a zero will be used in the calculation, which will lower the average. In the table below, the highest 35 years are listed in Column G.

    Total the highest 35 years of indexed earnings, and divide this total by 420, which is the number of months in a 35-year work history, to find the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings.

    For our example worker, who was born in 1953 and turned 60 in 2013, the highest 35 years of wages total $1,919,040. Divide by 420 to get an AIME of $4,569.

    How to Calculate Your AIME for Social Security Benefits
    A

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    Your Disability Payment Is Based On Your Average Lifetime Earnings Before You Became Disabled The Severity Of Disability Does Not Factor In Although Payments From Other Sources Can

    Unlike Supplemental Security Income , which also pays benefits to people who are disabled and unable to work but is based on limited income and resources, SSDI requires that you have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time.

    The average SSDI payment is currently $1,277. The highest monthly payment you can receive from SSDI in 2021, at full retirement age, is $3,148. This article covers how the monthly benefit is calculated.

    How Can A Married Couple Maximize The Surviving Spouses Benefits

    How to Calculate Your Social Security Benefits

    Im glad you asked! Many Americans are so excited to start collecting checks when they hit their sixties that they forget to plan a Social Security strategy that makes sense for their spouse, too. The age at which you begin taking retirement benefits affects how much your monthly payments will be for the rest of your life and beyond. Your filing age will set the amount that will go to your survivors as Social Security death benefits.

    The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed the auxiliary benefit rules in important ways. First, as of April 30, 2016, the file-and-suspend strategy for maximizing spousal benefits is no longer allowed. That strategy allowed one member of a couple, usually the higher earner, to file for primary benefits at 62 and then suspend those benefits, allowing them to grow until the filer reached age 70. In the meantime, the first persons spouse would file for spousal benefits and let his/her own primary benefits grow. It was a lucrative strategy for those lucky folks who took advantage of it, but it has been phased out.

    For everyone else, if you file for your own benefits before age 70 and then have a change of heart and decide you want to take advantage of Delayed Retirement Credits, you can still suspend your benefits. But if you suspend your benefits, any benefits based on your record will be suspended, too. Retirees who un-suspend their benefits will no longer get a lump sum payment as of April 30, 2016.

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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.

    State Social Security Taxes

    Depending on which state you live in, you may need to pay state taxes on your Social Security benefits. Some states follow the federal calculations for taxing Social Security while others exempt certain citizens or don’t tax Social Security benefits at all. Contact your state comptroller’s office by phone or visit its website to learn your state’s policy on taxing benefits.

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    Your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings

    The SSA calculates your AIME by factoring in up to 35 years of your earnings. If you were to reach full retirement age before applying for Social Security benefits, the SSA would take an average of your annual income for your 35 highest earning years to find your AIME.

    When you become disabled before retirement age, the SSA realizes that you probably do not have 35 years of work history on your record, so it goes an extra step to determine how many years to use in the AIME calculation. The SSA does this by counting the number of years between the time you turned 21 and the year you became disabled, and then subtracting one-fifth of that total number of years or five years, whichever is less.

    Example of Determining the Number of Years to Include in Your AIME:

    • You become disabled at age 40.
    • 40 years 21 years = 19 years
    • Subtract the lesser of either one-fifth of those 19 years , rounded down , or five years.
    • So, 19 3 = 16 of your highest earning years that the SSA will use to determine your AIME.

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