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How To Find Out My Social Security Benefit Amount

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How To Calculate Social Security Benefits In Excel

3 Ways To Find Out Your Social Security Disability Check Amount

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.

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.

How Much Will Your Retirement Benefit Be

Your retirement benefit is based on your average earnings over your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits, so if you have some years of no earnings or low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had worked steadily. Your age at the time you start receiving benefits also affects your benefit amount. Although you can retire early at age 62, the longer you wait to retire , the higher your retirement benefit.

You can find out more about future Social Security benefits by signing up for a my Social Security account at the Social Security website, www.ssa.gov, so that you can view your online Social Security Statement. Your statement contains a detailed record of your earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivor’s, and disability benefits. If you’re not registered for an online account and are not yet receiving benefits, you’ll receive a statement in the mail every five years, from age 25 to age 60, and then annually thereafter. You can also use the Retirement Estimator calculator on the Social Security website, as well as other benefit calculators that can help you estimate disability and survivor’s benefits.

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Beware The Social Security Earnings Test

Bringing in too much money in earned income can cost you if you continue to work after claiming Social Security benefits early. With what is commonly known as the Social Security earnings test, you will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 you make over the earnings limit, which in 2021 is $18,960. Once you are past full retirement age, the earnings test disappears, and you can make as much money as you want with no impact on benefits.

Any Social Security benefits forfeited to the earnings test are not lost forever. At your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will recalculate your benefits to take into account benefits lost to the test. For example, if you claim benefits at 62 and over the next four years lose one full years worth of benefits to the earnings test, at a full retirement age of 66 your benefits will be recomputed — and increased — as if you had taken benefits three years early, instead of four. That basically means the lifetime reduction in benefits would be 20% rather than 25%.

Using Your Benefit Estimates

10 free or cheap Social Security calculators to help you ...

As your statement will show, your Social Security retirement benefits will vary depending on when you claim them before or after your full retirement age . The longer you wait to start receiving payments, the higher your benefit amount will be.

However, it’s not always better to wait until your full retirement age to claim your Social Security benefits. If you need your Social Security benefits for living expenses, or you have a health condition that makes it unlikely that you will live past age 75 or so, you may be better off collecting your benefits sooner rather than later. You can use a calculator at the Social Security website to see which retirement age makes the most financial sense for you .

For comprehensive practical information about how and when to claim Social Security benefits, see Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions, by Joseph Matthews with Dorothy Matthews Berman .

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    Myth #: You’ll Never Get Back All The Money You Put Into The Program

    Everyone’s situation is different, but if you live a long time, you may collect more than you contributed to the system.

    Due to the complexity of claiming strategies and number of variables involved, the SSA no longer offers a break-even calculator on its website. Social Security is designed to provide a safety net of income for the retired, the disabled, and survivors of deceased insured workers. The contributions you and your employers make during your working years provide:

  • Current retirees and other Social Security recipients with payments
  • A guaranteed lifetime income benefit when you reach retirement
  • While the government does not have a specific account set aside just for you with your FICA contributions , one of the most powerful features of Social Security is that it provides an inflation-protected guaranteed income stream in retirement, ensuring against the risk you’ll outlive your savings. Even if you live to 100 or more, you’ll continue to receive income every month. And, if you predecease your spouse, your spouse also receives survivor benefits until their death.

    What Is The Social Security Benefits Formula For 2019

    The Social Security benefits formula that applies to determine your primary insurance amount is the formula in effect when you turn 62. The percentage of AIME you receive never changes, but the bend points do. In 2019, the bend points are $926 and $5,583. So, if you turn 62 in 2019, the Social Security benefits formula that would apply to determine your benefits is:

    • 90% of the first $926 in AIME
    • 32% of the amount of AIME between $926 and $5,583
    • 15% of the amount equal to or greater than $5,583 in AIME

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    How Long Can You Stay On Each Page

    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.

    What Is A Social Security Card

    How to Calculate Your Social Security Benefits

    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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    Can You Receive Retroactive Payments

    Once the SSA approves your SSDI application and calculates your monthly benefit, you may be entitled to a back pay award. How many months of payments you will receive will depend on the date you applied for benefits and your disability onset date.

    If you are applying for SSDI benefits, you need the assistance of a skilled Social Security disability lawyer to get your application approved and receive the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team, fill out the online form on this page or call our Roswell office today.

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    How Are Social Security Survivor Benefits Calculated

    To understand Social Security benefit calculations, you first need to understand one piece of jargon: primary insurance amount . A persons primary insurance amount is the amount of their monthly retirement benefit, if they file for that benefit exactly at their full retirement age.

    If your spouse has died and you file for a benefit as their survivor, your benefit will depend on:

    • Your deceased spouses PIA,
    • Whether your deceased spouse had already filed for his/her retirement benefit ,
    • The age at which your spouse died, and
    • The age at which you file for your benefit as a surviving spouse.

    Lets first assume that you have reached your survivor full retirement age by the time you file for your survivor benefit.

    If your spouse had not filed yet for his/her own retirement benefit by the time he/she died, then:

    • If your spouse died prior to his/her full retirement age, your benefit as a surviving spouse will be your deceased spouses PIA.
    • If your spouse died after reaching his/her full retirement age, your benefit as a surviving spouse will be whatever he/she would have received as a retirement benefit, if he/she had filed on his/her date of death.

    If your spouse had filed for his/her own retirement benefit by the time he/she died, then your benefit as a surviving spouse will be the greater of:

    • The amount your deceased spouse was receiving at the time of his/her death, or
    • 82.5% of your deceased spouses PIA.

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    If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment

    Contact the authorizing agency directly to find out why they sent the payment. You may be able to find the authorizing agency in the memo line of the check. View this diagram of a sample Treasury check to help you locate the authorizing agency contact information on your own check. Scroll about half way down the page to see the diagram.

    If you’re unable to find which agency authorized the payment, . They can help you determine which government agency you need to contact. To find which RFC you need to call, look for its city and state at the top center of the check.

    Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitmate and issued by the government.

    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

    How to Calculate Social Security Benefits: A Step

    For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income. Maximizing that stream of income is critical to funding your retirement dreams.

    The rules for claiming Social Security benefits can be complex, but this guide will help you wade through the details. By educating yourself about Social Security, you can ensure that you claim the maximum amount to which you are entitled.

    Here are 12 essential details you need to know.

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    The Easiest Way To Find Out How Much Social Security Will I Get

    Even if you arent of retirement age, you can plan for retirement now. Workers age 18 and older can also go online, create a personal account, and review their Social Security Statement. Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount to review your Statement to ensure your earnings record is correct. This is how your benefits are computed.

    Estimate Your Benefits

    Knowing what you will get every month in retirement benefits will help you plan for your retirement. The Retirement Calculator within my Social Security allows you to get personalized retirement benefits estimates based on your actual earnings. This makes it easy to see how changes in the date or age at which you begin receiving retirement benefits will affect your future income.

    If you do not want to create a my Social Security account

    Social Security Calculators page

    Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary

    You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.

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    How To Calculate Social Security Benefits

    If youd just like a ballpark estimate of your benefit, the Social Security Administration offers a quick calculator to give you a sense of your potential benefit. This calculator simply asks for your current annual salary, your birth date and your projected retirement date, although it does allow you to fill in your actual income by year to get a more accurate estimate.

    This estimate does not take early or late application for benefits, taxes and Medicare, or COLA increases into account. Youll likely need to download the Social Security Administrations full calculator software or work with a financial advisor to determine your full benefits considering those factors.

    Knowing how much you can expect to receive in Social Security gives you an important piece of your retirement income puzzle. With that in hand, you can make the financial plans you need for a secure and fulfilling retirement.

    How Is Social Security Calculated

    How to Calculate Social Security Benefit & When to Claim

    To determine your monthly benefits, the Social Security Administration uses a series of somewhat complicated calculations. At their heart is an inflation-adjusted average of your monthly income from your highest earning years.

    This monthly average is run through an income replacement formula that determines your base monthly Social Security payment rate in retirement. This base rate will then be adjusted upward or downward depending on a few factors, like your age when you start claiming Social Security benefits, your employment status in retirement, your tax bracket and your Medicare premiums.

    If that sounds overly complex, dont fret. Heres how each part of the Social Security calculation breaks down.

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    How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned

    To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 “credits” throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits a year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.

    In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.

    Your Social Security Full Retirement Age Plays A Big Role Know It

    First things first:Determine your Social Security full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.

    You can claim your Social Security benefits a few years before or after your full retirement age, and your monthly benefit amount will vary as a result. More on that in a moment.

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    Social Security Calculation Step : Adjust All Earnings For Inflation

    So lets jump in with calculating your AIME. To do this, youll need to get use a notepad or a tool like Excel/Google Sheets.

    Youre going to need six individual columns with plenty of room underneath for your information. Set up your columns with the following headings: Year, Age, Actual Earnings, Indexing Factor, Indexed Earnings, Highest 35 Years.

    The first two headings are the year and your age. Go all the way back to the first year you had earnings that were taxed for Social Security. You can find a complete record of this by going to your online SSA account and click the link that says view earnings record. If you dont have an online account, its very easy to set one up.

    This may seem a little redundant to put the year and your age, but itll make another step a little easier.

    Now you just need to copy down the information from the SS earnings history. Youll want to use the part that says your taxed Social Security earnings. Dont skip a year, even if there were no earnings. Just put a zero in.

    Once you have all of your historical earnings recorded, its time to adjust them for inflation. The SSA uses an indexing factor to make sure your future benefit has kept up with inflation, but still based on your earnings.

    Important note hereonly your earnings through age 59 are indexed. All earnings at age 60 and beyond are used in the calculation at face value with no inflation adjustment applied.

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