How You Receive Benefits
If you receive both SSI and SSP benefits, you will receive your SSP benefits the same way you chose to receive your SSI benefit.
If you receive SSP benefits but do not receive SSI benefits, you can choose how to receive your benefits. We strongly encourage you to receive benefits through direct deposit, which is safe, fast and convenient.
If you currently have a representative payee for your SSI benefits, that person will also manage your SSP benefits. If you want to change your representative payee, you must contact SSA. If you receive SSP but do not receive SSI benefits, you can assign or change a payee by calling SSP at 1-855-488-0541.
Use Our Full Retirement Age Calculator For Social Security
One of the keys of deciding when to retire is determining when you will reach your full retirement age. Full retirement age, also known as normal retirement age, is the age you must reach to start receiving full retirement benefits from Social Security. This age varies depending on when you were born. Because people are generally healthier and living longer, this age has gradually been increasing. For people born before 1938, the full retirement age is 65. People born between 1938 and 1960 are on a scale that ranges up to age 67.
Social Security has developed a Full Retirement Age Calculator that will give you detailed information on when your full retirement age is and what percentage of benefits you can expect as a record holder or as the spouse of a record holder. All thats required is for you to enter the year you were born.
To use the Full Retirement Age calculator, go to
Social Security Survivor Benefits
Social Security benefits may be available if you are the survivor–that is, the spouse, child, or parent of a worker who dies. The deceased must have worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits.
Your survivor benefits are based on the earnings of the person who died. The amount you get is based on your age and the type of benefits you are able to receive each month you receive a percentage of the deceaseds basic Social Security benefits. The maximum survivors benefit you can get is limited to what the deceased would have received in life. Click here for additional details and examples.
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Special Monthly Income Limit Rule For The First Year
Many people who retire mid-year have already earned more income than the limit allows. This is why there is a special rule where the earnings limit switches from an annual limit to a monthly limit.
This rule allows you to receive a check for any month you are considered retired by the SSA even if you have already exceeded the annual earnings limit.
That sounds straightforward enough but the interpretation of retired as defined by the SSA can cause some confusion. Heres what they mean by this term:
You are retired if your monthly earnings are 1/12 of the annual limit or less and you did not perform substantial services in self-employment.
Essentially, you are considered retired unless you make more than the income limit. The rule for the year you reach full retirement age also applies when working with the monthly limit. In this calendar year for 2021, the limit is $4,210 .
Its very important to remember that in the year following this first year, the monthly limit is no longer used and the earnings limit is based solely on your annual earnings limit.
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.
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How Much Will You Get From Ssi
The average SSI benefit is $585 per month, paid on top of Social Security retirement benefits. But the exact amount you’ll receive depends on the federal benefit rate and your income. As of 2021, the federal benefit rate is $794 for individuals and $1,191 for couples. But that doesn’t mean that’s how much you’ll get from the program. It’s just a starting point.
The government then subtracts your countable income from this benefit rate to determine your actual federal benefit. Here’s a guide to countable income for SSI if you’re interested in learning more about what income could affect your benefit.
Most states provide additional SSI benefits on top of the federal benefits to those who qualify. The only states and territories that don’t offer SSI supplements are:
- Northern Mariana Islands
- West Virginia
Each state has its own formula for determining how large an SSI supplement you qualify for. Reach out to your state for more information.
Recent Legislative And Regulatory Proposals
The Biden Administration has proposed legislative changes that would raise the maximum federal benefit under SSI to at least the poverty threshold for the United States . Under current benefit amounts, about 3.3 million SSI recipients are poor. The Administration has also proposed increasing the resource limits in SSI by changes in the price level in the United States. Under current resource limits, to qualify for SSI, individuals must have resources below $2,000 and married couples must have resources below $3,000. These limits have been fixed in dollar amounts since 1989. The Administration’s proposal would increase these to about $4,300 and $8,600 in 2021 . Amounts would be automatically increased for future price growth. The Biden Administration has further proposed to eliminate benefit reductions due to “in kind” support received by SSI recipients and to set the couple rate under SSI to twice that of the individual rate.
The Trump Administration proposed legislative changes to disregard earnings of disabled students for purposes of calculating SSI benefits, which would allow students to increase earnings without a loss in SSI benefits. The Trump Administration also proposed legislative changes to reduce total SSI benefits in cases where more than one person in the family qualified for SSI. These proposals were not acted upon by Congress.
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Can You Still Work While Receiving Social Security
You can continue to work while you receive Social Security benefits. But there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. The earning limit may be adjusted each year.
If you earn above the limit, Social Security will deduct a certain amount of your benefits each year.
Social Security Benefits, Earning Limits and Penalties
|SSA deducts $1 from your benefits for every $3 you earn above the limit|
Working While Collecting Social Security Retirement
Many people choose or need, to keep working after claiming Social Security retirement benefits. However, if you continue work after claiming early retirement benefits your Social Security benefits may be reduced until you reach your full retirement age.
If you retire at age 62, Social Security will deduct money from your retirement check if you exceed a certain amount of earned income for the calendar year. For example, the income limit in 2018 was $17,040 or $1,420 per month. The income limit increases annually. Until you reach your full retirement age, Security will reduce your benefit by $1 for every $2 you earn over the income limit. Once you reach your full retirement age, you will receive your full Social Security retirement benefit with no limitation on how much income you earn from working.
The worse news is that Social Security does not apply the early retirement work penalty by simply deducting a small amount from each monthly benefit check. Instead, the agency may withhold several months entire checks until the total reduction is paid off. This means your annual budget will have to account for a certain number of months without a benefit check. Complete details on this decidedly complicated process can be found in Social Securitys pamphlet on How Work Affects Your Benefits. You can also use Social Securitys earnings test calculator to see how much your reduction will be and when your checks will be withheld.
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Aged Disabled Or Blind
In order to be eligible for SSI, a person must meet the definition of being aged, disabled, or blind.
Aged Being deemed aged consists of attaining the age of 65 or older. The Social Security Administration, like the United States Government in general, follows English common law and considers a person to attain an age the day before their birthday.
Disabled Being deemed disabled consists of meeting the general disability definition used by the Social Security Administration to be eligible for SSDI:
“Disability means inability to engage in any SGA by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
“The 1967 amendments specified that workers shall be determined to be under a disability only if the physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that the individual is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. This is regardless of whether any of these are true:
- Such work exists in the immediate area in which the claimant lives.
- A specific job vacancy exists.
- The claimant would be hired if they applied for work.
Blind Being deemed blind consists of meeting the following definition:
Social Security Phone Number
You can contact Social Security by phone by calling their toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, their TTY phone number is 1-800-325-0778. You can use their automated telephone services to obtain recorded information and to conduct some business 24 hours a day. You can speak with a Social Security representative if you call between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday. You can also reach their TTY number if you call between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday. For instructions on their Automated services click here.
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Calculate The Best Time To Start Social Security
If you are confused about when to start, you can use the Social Security Explorer part of the NewRetirement Retirement Planner to compare your monthly income and maximum lifetime payout at different ages.
Or, you might consider the following rules of thumb:
- Take Early: The only people who should consider taking their Social Security early are those who absolutely need the money immediately, or those who do not expect to live for very long, due to illness
- Take at Full Retirement Age: Should you have reason to believe that you will not live past the age of 80, then generally speaking you will maximize your social security benefits if you take them when you reach your Full Retirement Age.
- Wait as Long as Possible: On the other hand, if you are confident that you will live past the age of 80 or 85, then most experts recommend that you defer your social security for as long as you can , so as to maximize the benefits you receive from it.
- Other: If you have dependent children, the additional benefits you receive for them might make filing when you are younger worthwhile.
It can also be a very good idea to have an overall retirement plan before you decide when to start your Social Security benefits. The NewRetirement Retirement Planner can help you assess all of your sources of retirement income and whether or not you will have enough to cover your expenses. This tool was recently named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investors .
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.
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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|
Go To The Social Security Office
Heading to your local Social Security office may be the best option, but its also less possible these days.
I usually recommend someone who isnt technologically efficient to apply in person or over the phone, says Daniel Vredeveld, CFP, financial adviser at Richmond Brothers in Jackson, Michigan. It usually helps to work directly with someone, that way you can avoid making accidental mistakes.
But an in-person appointment may come with drawbacks.
Since the start of COVID-19, actual manned Social Security offices have been running on a skeleton crew, so applying now could be time-consuming, says Chuck Czajka, CEO of Macro Money Concepts in Stuart, Florida.
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Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits With Heart Failure
Social Security Disability benefits can provide an individual who is suffering from heart failure with a monthly income as well as medical insurance to cover medical expenses.
When an individual suffers from heart failure, it can be impossible to maintain a full time job. Working a job with heart failure can be dangerous, yet the lack of income caused by an inability to work can result in significant financial stress. While it may seem like a vicious cycle, the good news is that Social Security Disability benefits may be the solution to this problem. Social Security Disability benefits can provide an individual who is suffering from heart failure with a monthly income as well as medical insurance to cover medical expenses.
Try This Life Expectancy Calculator For Social Security
Retirement benefit calculations are based on extensive actuarial studies and data. As a service to the public, the Social Security Administration has developed a simple Life Expectancy Calculator that allows you to plug in your gender and date of birth to get a rough estimate of how long you may live.
Knowing this information may help you in deciding when the right time is to apply for retirement benefits.
To use the Calculator, go to
Medical Qualifying With A Mental Illness
The SSA conducts a detailed review of your medical records to determine your eligibility for benefits. During this review, they try to match your records to a disability listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSAs medical guide that is used to evaluate every disability application.
Disability listings outline the severity level requirements and the specific medical evidence needed to support a claim for benefits. Mental illnesses appear in Section 12.00 and include:
- 12.06, Anxiety-related Disorders you may qualify under this listing if you have a severe phobia, post-traumatic stress, a panic disorder, or another anxiety-related condition.
- 12.08, Personality Disorders this is the listing under which you may qualify if you have severe, clinical depression.
- 12.04, Affective Disorders if you have bipolar disorder, your application will be reviewed under this listing.
Extensive medical records are necessary to qualify, including:
- Information on your diagnosis, ideally from a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Brain scans or other evidence of physical abnormalities that document an organic cause for symptoms, if applicable
- Treatment records, documenting medications, therapy, and other management methods used and their effects
- Thoroughly documented episodes of increased symptoms or periods of decompensation
- Well documented affects of your symptoms on your everyday abilities or activities of daily living