Wednesday, August 17, 2022

How To Check My Social Security Retirement Benefits

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How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify

How Big Will My Social Security Check Be in Retirement?

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

Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments

Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.

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 years bend points on the Bend Formula Bend Points page of the Social Security Administrations 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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What Happens To Lineal Championship When Retire

A break in the direct continuity of a lineal championship can occur when a reigning champion retires or moves to another weight class. Some require that top contenders for the title must fight to become the next lineal champion, while others require a new undisputed champion before the lineage can continue.

How Long Can You Stay On Each Page

How to Check My Social Security

For security reasons, there are time limits for viewing each page. You will receive a warning if you dont do anything for 25 minutes, but you will be able to extend your time on the page.

After the third warning on a page, you must move to another page. If you do not, your time will run out and your work on that page will be lost.

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Reasons Your Social Security Check Was Short This Month

Some 65 million Americans receive Social Security retirement benefits each month, according to the Social Security Administration . The average monthly benefit for all retired workers in 2022 is estimated at $ 1,657, which is the main source of income for some of them.

Even if youve saved money in a 401 account, individual retirement account , or other qualified retirement plan, if you rely on Social Security to supplement this, you might be shocked once your the first payment arrives. If youve recently started collecting Social Security benefits, there are three common reasons you may receive less than you expected: compensation for unpaid debts, taking benefits early, and high income. .

When Is The Best Time To Claim On Your Ex

When to claim depends on how long you think youll live. If you are generally healthy and active or have relatives who have lived a long time, youll probably want to plan for 20, 25, 30, or more years in retirement. With Social Security, the longer you wait to claim, the larger the amount of monthly payments youll generally receive on your own work record. However, your benefit as an ex-spouse will not get any larger than half your exs PIA. And, that is only if you wait until your FRA to claim.

Lets look at an example: Clair and her ex were married for 17 years, from 1975 to 1992. She worked and qualifies for her own Social Security benefits. Now, at age 64 , Clair is thinking about retirement and wants to know when she should claim, on whose record, and how much she would receive in monthly benefits under each scenario.

Clair claims at 64
$1,320/mo.
For illustrative purposes only.

If Clair claims at 64, she locks in a permanent reduction of her monthly benefits. If she waits till 70, shell get a higher amount, but would have to use other assets to pay her retirement expenses between now and age 70.

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How To Check Your Social Security Statement Online

It’s easy to check your Social Security statement online. Everything works exactly as you’d expect and the website security is tight. Here’s how.

  • Head to the official Social Security website.
  • Create an account. Follow the instructions carefully. When you receive your activation code, return to the Social Security website to complete the process.
  • After you’ve created your account, log in. Even here, you’ll encounter an additional security measure. After you submit your password, the website will email you a one-time security code. After you enter that, you’ll be able to access your information.
  • From the main page of your account, you have access to all of your basic Social Security info, such as your earning record:

    And your estimated benefits:

    You can also download your most recent Social Security statement and/or order a replacement card.

    There’s not a lot to see in your Social Security account, but that’s fine. Sometimes you simply need to check your estimated benefits or your lifetime earnings. The Social Security website makes that easy and efficient to do.

    No More File And Suspend

    How Do I Check My Social Security Account

    Note that the claiming strategy called file and suspend, which allowed married couples who have reached their FRA to receive spousal benefits and delayed retirement credits at the same time, ended as of May 1, 2016. However, spouses born before Jan. 2, 1954, who have attained their FRA may still be able to file a restricted application. It allows them to claim spousal benefits while delaying their own benefits up to age 70.

    Social Security benefits can be taxable if your combined income is high enough.

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    Myth #: Your Benefits Are Based Only On Wages Youve Earned Before Age 65

    How your Social Security benefit is calculated can seem mysterious. However, its important to know a few essential facts to aid your claiming strategy. You can use the tools on SSA.gov to do the calculations.

    • Your benefit is calculated based on your highest 35 years of earnings they dont have to be consecutive years or before age 65.
    • If you work past age 65, those earning years will be included, so long as they are high enough to be part of your highest 35 years.
    • Even working part-time after turning 65 may be part of your highest 35 years of earnings.
    • To be eligible for Social Security, you must have a minimum of 10 years of covered employment , which equates to 40 credits in the Social Security system.
    • If you dont have 35 years with earnings, zeros will be included in the calculation.

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    How To Correct An Error On Your Social Security Statement

    If you have evidence of your covered earnings in the year or years for which you think Social Security has made an error, call Social Security’s helpline at 800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is the line that takes all kinds of Social Security questions, and it is often swamped, so be patient. It is best to call early in the morning or late in the afternoon, late in the week, or late in the month. Have all your documents handy when you speak with a representative.

    If you would rather speak with someone in person, call your local Social Security office and make an appointment to see someone there, or drop into the office during regular business hours. If you drop in, be prepared to wait, perhaps as long as an hour or two, before you get to see a representative. Bring with you two copies of your benefits statement and the evidence that supports your claim of higher income. That way, you can leave one copy with the Social Security worker. Write down the name of the person with whom you speak so that you can reach the same person when you follow up.

    The process to correct errors is slow. It may take several months to have the changes made in your record. After Social Security confirms that it has corrected your record, request another benefits statement to make sure the correct information made it to your file.

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    Whats Social Security For

    As a general rule, Social Security replaces about 55% of a low earners pre-retirement salary, 41% of an average earners pre-retirement salary, and 34% of a high earners pre-retirement salary.

    In no case, high, low, or average earner does it replace 100% of what someone is making, said Czarnowski. Rather, its meant to be a foundation to someones retirement income plan.

    Don’t Overpay For Prescriptions

    Why your Social Security check could be less than you expect

    Medication costs can really add up. To save money on your prescriptions, always opt for the generic when possible. And consider joining a prescription membership program wherever you buy your medication to receive discounts and earn rewards. For example, the Rite Aid Rx Savings Program gives members 15 percent off or more on meds, and a 30-day supply of most generics costs only $9.99 with the plan.

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    What About Unmarried Children

    An unmarried child of the deceased may be able to receive benefits if one of the following applies:

    • They are younger than 18 years of age or, they are up to age 19, if they are a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school.
    • They are age 18 or older with a disability that began before the age of 22.

    What Is A Social Security Card

    Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.

    When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.

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    How Do I Increase My Social Security Benefits After Retirement

    To increase your monthly benefit, don’t start taking Social Security payments right when you reach full retirement age. The longer you wait, the more you’ll get each month. If you want to get the highest possible amount of Social Security benefits each month, you need to wait until age 70 to retire.

    You Can Work And Still Receive Benefits

    How Do I Apply For My Social Security Retirement Benefits Online – Documents Needed To Apply For SSI

    If youre younger than FRA, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full Social Security benefits, according to Social Security. If youre younger than FRA during all of 2022, Social Security deducts $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $19,560. If you reach FRA during 2022, Social Security deducts $1 from your benefits for each $3 you earn above $51,960 until the month you reach FRA.

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    Take Advantage Of Free Entertainment

    You don’t need to spend any of your Social Security check to stay busy and have fun. Go to a museum with free admission or check out a library book to stay entertained during the day. You can also attend open mic nights at a local coffee shop or theater, which often do not charge an admission fee. Other free activities include attending book readings, going to a lecture at a local college or university and attending free outdoor concerts.

    Of course, these benefits might have to wait until after states are fully reopened from the coronavirus shutdowns.

    Other Factors Affecting Your Social Security Check

    If you retire before full retirement age and your income goes up instead of down for some reason you are selling a great asset, starting a profitable business, or earning a lot as a consultant or freelance writer this could have a huge impact on what you get from Social Security, at least until you hit full retirement age.

    Your benefits could also decrease if you have Medicare Parts A and B and you also pay a separate premium for an additional policy, known as the Medigap plan.

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    Check Your Benefit Estimate Too

    Checking your estimated Social Security benefit on your statement is another useful exercise, according to Czarnowski.

    At one time, Social Security only informed you what your estimated benefit would be at three different ages: 62, your full retirement age and 72. The new statement is much more useful. It provides estimates of your monthly benefit at each age, from 62 to 70, including your full retirement age.

    People have a better sense of what they can get from Social Security at different ages, said Czarnowski.

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    How To Verify Your Social Security Benefits

    How and When to Apply for retirement benefits

    Syndicated columnist, NBC Today contributor and creator of SavvySenior.org

    Dear Savvy Senior:

    When my neighbor applied for his retirement benefits last year, he found that Social Security had made some mistakes on his earnings record in past years, which caused him to get a monthly benefit check that was lower than it should have been. He never got it straightened out. How can I make sure this doesn’t happen to me?

    -Paranoid Paul

    Dear Paul:

    The best way to keep an eye on your Social Security benefits and avoid any possible mistakes is to carefully review your Social Security statement, which you can now do online.

    Just go to ssa.gov/mystatement and answer a few questions to verify your identity, and then print your statement out on paper. If you’re age 60 or older and not yet receiving benefits, your statement will actually be mailed to you about three months before your birthday.

    Your Social Security statement lists your earnings record for each year of employment, and estimates the benefits you and your family may receive as a result of those earnings.

    Once you get your statement in front of you, take some time to verify its accuracy by comparing the earnings listed on your statement with your own tax records or W-2 statements. And if you spot a discrepancy, follow these steps:

    If corrections aren’t made on your statement start an appeals process .

    Other Mistakes

    Calculation Errors

    Syndicated columnist, NBC Today contributor and creator of SavvySenior.org

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    Applying To Delay Your First Payment

    If you received a letter from us and want to delay your first payment:

    Examples of delaying Old Age Security

    Delaying 1 year

    Michael turned 65 in July 2019. If he decides to delay receiving the Old Age Security pension for 1 year, his monthly amount will increase by 7.2% to account for the 12-month deferral period from August 2019 to July 2020.

    If Michaels payment amount is $549.89 per month, his increased monthly payment would be $589.48.

    Delaying 5 years

    Rita will be turning 65 in December 2019. If she decides to delay receiving the Old Age Security pension for the maximum deferral period of 60 months, her monthly amount will increase by 36% at age 70 .

    If Ritas payment amount is $549.89 per month, her increased monthly payment would be $747.85.

    Delaying with an earlier start date than the date of application

    John could receive his Old Age Security pension in August 2018 and he decided to delay receiving it. In December 2019, John applied for Old Age Security. He writes on his application that he would like his benefit to be effective as of October 2019, 3 months earlier than his application date. His monthly benefit amount will then increase by 8.4% to account for the 14-month period from August 2018 to September 2019. The monthly increase does not apply to the period from October 2019 to December 2019.

    If Johns payment amount is $549.89 per month, his increased monthly payment would be $596.08.

    What Happens If You Claim After Your Fra

    If you wait until your age 70 to start claiming benefits, then youll get an extra 8% per yearor, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesnt increase your benefits further, so theres no reason to wait longer than that.

    The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 , the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesnt necessarily mean that youll come out ahead overall. Other factors should be considered, including your expected longevity and whether you plan to file for spousal benefits. You should also consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.

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