Make Payments To The Federal Government
Learn how to use Pay.gov to make secure, electronic payments to government agencies from your checking or savings account. You can use the online service for VA medical care copayments, U.S. district court tickets, U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner user fee payments, and more.
If you need help, contact Pay.gov customer service.
Spouses And Social Security
You can claim Social Security benefits based on your spouses work record. If claiming spousal benefits provides more, claiming before your FRA on a spouses record means youll lose even more than claiming on your own recordthe benefit reduction for a spouse is up to 35% while the reduction for claiming your own benefit is up to 30%. For instance, if youre the spouse of Colleen in the above example and you are the same age, youd be eligible for only $650 a month at age 6235% less than the $1000 a month you would get at your FRA of 67.
Not married? Read Viewpoints on Fidelity.com: Social Security tips for singles
Your decision to take benefits early could outlive you. If you were to die before your spouse, they would be eligible to receive your monthly amount as a survivor benefitif its higher than their own amount. But if you take your benefits early, say at age 62 versus waiting until age 70, your spouses survivor Social Security benefit could be up to 30% less for the remainder of their lifetime.
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When Should You Start Social Security
The Social Security Administration does not have a recommended age to start receiving benefits. The decision is entirely up to you. Youll get a little bit less if you start early, or a bigger benefit if you wait until 70. You can calculate the difference on the SSA website. You may receive a bigger payout over your lifetime if you wait, but that might not be as important as receiving income now, especially if you can no longer work for health reasons. Ultimately, the right age depends on your financial situation, your work, and your health.
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Learn More About Social Security
The rules around Social Security can vary from very simple to fairly complicated. Our special coverage in Fidelity Viewpoints® includes topics such as working while retired, taxes, and more.
In our special video series, a Fidelity professional answers some of the most commonly asked customer questions about Social Security.
My Social Security’ Accounts
My wife and I have never received paper Social Security statements. Instead, we signed up for my Social Security accounts to access our statements online. Be careful, though if you sign up for a my Social Security account online, you will no longer qualify for any paper social security statements based on the current rules.
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Social Security Benefits For An Ex
If you are age 62 or older, have a past marriage that lasted at least 10 years, and have not remarried, you might be able to collect Social Security benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings record. If you have not had a lot of qualifying earnings during your life, this rule could put more money in your pocket.
Learn more about claiming based on your ex-spouse’s earnings and what else you need to know.
Create A My Social Security Account
The first thing you need to do is create a my Social Security account.Through my Social Security, you create a username and password for your account.
You will need your Social Security number, email address, and mailing address. You must be 18 years of age and create an account for only yourself .
As you can imagine, dealing with your Social Security number is a delicate and sensitive matter.
Youll get an activation code via email and answer security questions to verify your account. Once youve created an account and verified your identity, you can access your personalized account with your information.
Congress Must Act Sooner Rather Than Later
In theory, the AWI problem could be fixed anytime before 2022, when, for example, workers who turn 60 this year are first eligible to retire at the age of 62. But that delay would cause significant anxiety for these workers, whose future benefits would be at risk. Moreover, people decide when to retire based on projections of their incomes in their initial year of retirement and in the remainder of their lives. It would be most unfair to workers decision-making processes to have the expectations of their future incomes be uncertain for some period of time while they are trying to make such an important decision.
Congress needs to act sooner rather than later to ameliorate this problem. One possibility would be to include a fix in the stimulus legislation to cope with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that Congress is currently considering.
Checklist For Your Social Security Claiming Strategy
- 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. Dont succumb to myths use primary resources such as SSA.gov.
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Who Is Eligible For Social Security Benefits
Anyone who pays into Social Security for at least 40 calendar quarters is eligible for retirement benefits based on their earnings record. You are eligible for your full benefits once you reach full retirement age, which is either 66 and 67, depending on when you were born. But if you claim later than that – you can put it off as late as age 70 – youâll get a credit for doing so, with larger monthly benefits. Conversely, you can claim as early as age 62, but taking benefits before your full retirement age will result in the Social Security Administration docking your monthly benefits.
The bottom line: Youâre eligible for Social Security Benefits if youâve paid into the system for at least a decade, but your actual benefits will depend on what age â between 62 and 70 â you begin to claim them.
Speak To An Ssa Representative
Social security representatives will be more than happy to help you with calculating your monthly benefit. Retirement is a very big step in a persons life. Plan your retirement around your future monthly payments. It is estimated that at least 3 out of 5 retirees depend on social security for at least half their income. It is advisable that retirees get a full explanation of how certain factors can affect their monthly payments. An SSA representative can offer you an explanation of your future benefits. Additionally, they will address any other concerns you have regarding retirement payments.
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Social Security Benefits For Workers Turning 60 In 2020 Will Very Likely Drop Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 3 million retired workers who turn 60 years old in 2020 will very likely have much lower lifetime Social Security benefits than previously expected. Without legislative changes, the average earner stands to lose nearly $1,500 per year for the rest of their life. Fortunately, there is a simple legislative changeexplored in detail belowthat would fix these problems without lowering the benefits of any other cohort of retirees. Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, Rep. John Larson , has introduced such legislation*and Congress should fix this situation as soon as possible.
How Will You Receive Your Disability Check
Until fairly recently, most Social Security disability recipients received a paper check in the mail. Prior to 1997 , those checks were sent to arrive on the 3rd of each month. For those who have made claims since 1997, the exact date on which Social Security checks were sent depends on your date of birth.
- Those with birthdays on the 1st-10th of the month receive checks on the second Wednesday of the month.
- Those with birthdays on the 11th through 20th of the month receive checks on the third Wednesday of the month.
- Those with birthdays on the 21st through the 30th receive checks on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
These days, most Social Security Disability recipients dont actually receive a paper check at all. The majority of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income recipients receive their benefits check through direct deposit into their bank account. The government is in the process of requiring beneficiaries to receive their benefits electronically. For those who dont want to receive their benefits through direct deposit, the SSA offers a debit card.
When you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will ask you which payment option you prefer and it will be up to you.
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How To Easily Calculate Your Monthly Social Security Benefits Based On Your Earnings
It is good to know how to calculate benefits you will get each month from your social security benefits. You can use the social security calculator to calculate benefits.
The first factor to consider is the amount of money you put into your social security. The other aspect is the age that you decide to start receiving your social security benefits.
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.
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The Amount Of Money That You Receive From The Federal Portion Of Your Disability Benefits Is The Same But Some States Top Up Supplemental Security Income
Although all beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income receive the same amount from the federal government regardless of where you live, you might or might not receive a top-up to your monthly SSI payments depending on where you live in the US.
Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration but some states provide a booster amount on top of the federal portion to SSI beneficiaries who reside in their state. Some provide the extra monthly funds to all recipients in their state, but not all. What you need to know
Obtain An Estimate Online
This is the easiest way to get an estimate of your Social Security income. You will simply need to register for your personal my Social Security account at www.SSA.gov. Once you create your account, you will have access to a number of features including a retirement estimator. This benefit calculator allows you to estimate your retirement income, and it will even take into account your future earnings by making a few assumptions. You can simply adjust the numbers regarding your current salary and future wage increases, and the calculator will provide an estimate almost immediately. In addition to these calculators, you can also view your Social Security statement which shows your Social Security earnings history and other important information. To gain access, you will simply need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, and a few other pieces of identifying information.
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How Should I Decide When To Take Benefits
Consider the following factors as you decide when to take Social Security.
Your cash needs: If youre contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources , you can be flexible about when to take Social Security benefits.
If youll 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 youll 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 youll beat the average life expectancy, then waiting for a larger monthly check might be a good deal. On the other hand, if youre in poor health or have reason to believe you wont beat the average life expectancy, you might decide to take what you can while you can.
A quick note about life expectancy
How Long Does The Process Take
The length of time it takes Social Security to make a disability decision depends on several different factors, but primarily on:
- The nature of your disability
- How quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources and
- Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim.
You can help speed up the process by having the needed information on hand when you apply. Please go to Information You Need To Apply For Disability Benefits for more information.
Increase Your Social Security Benefits
When you start receiving your earnings before the age of 62, your earnings reduce by 30%. It is better to wait until you are eligible. When you decide to retire late, you increase your earnings as well. Knowing how to calculate benefits helps you make the wisest decision regarding your social security earnings.
How To Calculate Social Security Benefits In Excel
If you are in your late 50s and approaching retirement, you can create a useful model of your future benefits. It works best to do this in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, as follows:
- Using a recent Social Security statement, list in spreadsheet column A your taxable Social Security earnings year by year.
- List in column B the most recently published NAWI adjustment factors as published by the SSA.
- Multiply columns A and B and output the result to column C.
- Identify in column D the 35 highest values in column C. Add these together and divide the sum by 420 . This will approximate your AIME.
- Use the most recently published bend points to convert your AIME into a PIA.
You also can fill in hypothetical values for estimated taxable Social Security earnings in future years until you plan to stop working. To be conservative, use a NAWI adjustment factor of 1.0 in column B for all future years.
A financial advisor who fully understands this process can be helpful in verifying your calculations, advising you on when to start Social Security benefits, and estimating the future benefits you can expect to receive.
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Estimate Your Social Security Benefit
Our Social Security benefits calculator can help you see how much you may receive both monthly and over your lifetime. Keep in mind that several factors can impact your estimated benefit amount:
- Your earnings
- Age you claim
- Your marital status
Compare estimated monthly and lifetime benefits at different claiming ages, and see how other factors may affect your benefits amount.
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.
Why Do I Need To Know How To Calculate My Social Security Benefits
So you may be thinking, Why do I need to know how to calculate my own Social Security benefits? After all, the SSA will give me an estimate at any time.
Thats true! You can go to your My SSA account online and see an up-to-date copy of your benefits estimate. So why would you need to know how to do this calculation on your own?
Its important for a few reasons.
First, it never hurts to understand the mechanics behind an income stream thatll probably be a large part of your overall retirement income.
Secondly, your benefits estimate from the Social Security Administration is probably wrong. This is because their estimation methodology has two serious flaws: 1) They assume your future earnings wont increase2) They use todays social security formula
This means that these estimates are less accurate for younger workers but more reliable for workers who are close to retirement.
So, understanding how to do this calculation is especially important if you plan to retire early or later than normal or if you have a significant earnings change in the last few years of working.
To do this calculation, there are only four steps.
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