How Is Fra Calculated
Not only will you receive your full retirement benefit if you wait until your FRA, but if you delay taking your benefit past your FRA, your benefit will increase every year up to age 70.
On the other hand, if you start receiving benefits early, your total benefit is reduced a small percent for each month before your FRA.
How The Retirement Age Could Change
Retirement ages were last altered in 1983 under then-President Ronald Reagan.
Those changes, which raised the full retirement age to 67 from 65, are still being phased in today.
Even just the bump up to age 66 from 65 represented a 5% benefit cut, Elsasser noted.
Many experts expect that any future changes could push up the Social Security retirement age. Notably, the Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust, introduced by Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., last year, would leave those thresholds unchanged and, in some respects, make benefits more generous. But the legislation has a five-year timeframe.
Separately, the Social Security Administration has scored the financial effects other proposals to change the age thresholds could have on the program.
Just in 20 years, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the retirement age.Mark J. Warshawskysenior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
“I expect that at some point in the not too distant future, Congress will agree on a Social Security package that includes some type of adjustment to the retirement age,” Akabas said. “Whether that’s in two years or 10 years, it’s very difficult to predict.”
Experts say it’s possible the full retirement age could get pushed up by a year or two, which could be gradually phased in.
Additionally, lawmakers could also raise the initial age for eligibility for retirement benefits from 62, as well as the highest age for delaying benefits and earning benefit increases from 70.
How Much Is Your Benefit Reduced If You Collect Early
This depends on your FRA. This chart provided by the SSA explains the reduction to your retirement benefits caused by making withdrawals as early as possible, at age 62.
For example, if you are born in 1955, your FRA is 66 years and 2 months.
If you start receiving Social Security benefits when you are eligible at age 62, you will receive just 74.2% of your full retirement benefit.
If the same individual, born in 1955, waits one more year to receive Social Security retirement benefits, until age 63, the percent of their full retirement benefit they are getting jumps from 74.2% to 79.2%.
One year makes a difference.
Plus, finance guru Suze Orman’s advice on finance and retirement.
Read Also: How Are Social Security Benefits Determined
Social Security Disability Programs
In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits to people who are disabled or blind.
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program
- SSDI supports disabled or blind individuals by providing benefits based on their workers contributions to the Social Security trust fund. Your contributions are based on your earnings or your spouses or parents earnings while in the workforce. Your dependents may also be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings.
- Supplemental Security Income Program
- SSI benefits are paid out as cash assistance to people with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind or disabled. These benefits may also include blind or disabled children. SSI payments are a federal benefit funded by the general fund of the United States not the Social Security trust fund. Some states provide additional state supplemental benefits in addition to the federal SSI payments.
In some cases, people may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these concurrent benefits. This can happen when a disability qualifies you for Social Security Disability Benefits, but you only get a small amount of monthly SSDI benefits. This may qualify you to receive SSI benefits as well.
Comparing SSDI and SSI Programs
|Up to 85%|
Income Taxes for Other Benefit Programs
What Debts Are Forgiven At Death
What Types of Debt Can Be Discharged Upon Death?
- Secured Debt. If the deceased died with a mortgage on her home, whoever winds up with the house is responsible for the debt. …
- Unsecured Debt. Any unsecured debt, such as a credit card, has to be paid only if there are enough assets in the estate. …
- Student Loans. …
Don’t Miss: Social Security Who Gets It
Your Monthly Social Security Benefits Increase The Longer You Wait To Claim
You can collect Social Security benefits as soon as you turn 62, but taking benefits before your full retirement age means a permanent reduction in your payments of as much as 25% to 30%, depending on your full retirement age.
If you wait until you hit full retirement age to claim Social Security benefits, youll receive 100% of your earned benefits. But you can also get a big bonus by waiting to claim your Social Security benefits at age 70 your monthly Social Security benefit will grow by 8% a year until then. Any cost-of-living adjustments will be included, too, so you don’t forgo those by waiting.
Waiting to claim your Social Security benefits can help your heirs as well. By waiting to take her benefit, a high-earning wife, for example, can ensure that her low-earning husband will receive a much higher survivor benefit in the event she dies before him. That extra income of up to 32% could make a big difference.
No More File And Suspend
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.
Read Also: To Get Social Security Benefits
Change In How You Report Earnings
The Social Security Administration bases its benefit calculations on earnings reported on W-2 forms and on self-employment tax payments. Most individuals are not required to send in an estimate of earnings.
However, the Social Security Administration does request earnings estimates from some recipients: those with substantial self-employment income or those whose reported earnings have varied widely from month to month, including people who work on commission. Toward the end of each year, Social Security sends those people a form asking for an earnings estimate for the following year. The agency uses the information to calculate benefits for the first months of the following year. It will then adjust the amounts, if necessary, after it receives actual W-2 or self-employment tax information in the current year.
Once a beneficiary reaches full retirement age, his or her income will no longer be checked. Because there is no Social Security limit on how much a person can earn after reaching full retirement age, there is nothing to report.
An Example Of Taxed Benefits
Lets say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Lets further assume that you dont have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement accounts required minimum distribution of $10,000 for the year.
Your combined income would be $38,332half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distributionwhich would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable because youve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and Im in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.
Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in the Internal Revenue Service Publication 915.
Read Also: Social S3curity
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.
Spouses And Social Security
You can claim Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work record. If claiming spousal benefits provides more, claiming before your FRA on a spouse’s record means you’ll 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 you’re the spouse of Colleen in the above example and you are the same age, you’d 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 it’s higher than their own amount. But if you take your benefits early, say at age 62 versus waiting until age 70, your spouse’s survivor Social Security benefit could be up to 30% less for the remainder of their lifetime.
Recommended Reading: Ssa.gov Social Security Benefits
What If I Want To Work In Retirement
Sometimes leaving the workforce is neither feasible nor appealing. Thats why some retirees find part-time jobs to pass the time or earn extra money.
Getting a part-time job after retiring early may reduce your benefit amount until you reach full retirement age. The SSA may withhold a certain amount of money from your benefit check if your earnings exceed the annual limit. For 2021, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above $18,960. If youll reach your full retirement age in 2021, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earn above a different limit up until the month you turn 67. For a comparison, benefits were reduced in 2020 by $1 for every $2 earned above $18,240, and reduced by $1 for every $3 earned above $48,600 for those who reached full retirement age that year.
The SSA doesnt penalize working retirees forever. Youll receive all of the benefits the government withheld after you reach your full retirement age. At that time, the SSA recalculates your benefit amount.
Working While Receiving Benefits
You may work after you start receiving benefits, which could mean a higher benefit for you in the future. We may withhold some of your benefits if you earn more than the yearly earnings limit. Sometimes people who retire in mid-year already have earned more than the annual earnings limit. However:
- We have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year, usually the first year you begin receiving benefits. This means we cannot withhold benefits for any month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings.
- After you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to take into account any months you did not receive benefits because your earnings were too high.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Social Security Benefit
You Want To Start A Business
Some people think of retirement as a time to relax, but you might see it as an opportunity to do things you couldnt do before, such as starting your own business. For example, you might have put off starting a business before because you were afraid you wouldnt be generating enough income. Social Security benefits could provide enough income to let you launch your business. And if your business is successful, the income it generates could be more than enough to offset the future reduction in benefits.
Doing A Breakeven Analysis And Other Ways To Decide How Soon To Start
InvestopediaForbes AdvisorThe Motley Fool, CredibleInsider
A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time
If youre about to retire, you may be wondering whether you should start claiming your hard-earned Social Security benefits now. Here are a few key factors to consider in making that decision.
Read Also: How Is Your Social Security Payment Figured
Full Retirement Age Affects The Amount Of Your Benefits And More
Full retirement age is the age at which you can claim your standard Social Security benefit, or your primary insurance amount , from Social Security. Your PIA is the standard amount you can expect to receive based on your inflation-adjusted average wages earned throughout your career. Full retirement age is 66 for those born in 1954 and 67 for those born in 1960 or later — it varies depending on your birth year.
It is important to know your full retirement age, as it affects when you can claim Social Security without reducing your benefits, the amount of delayed retirement credits you can earn in order to raise your benefits, and how much you can earn from working while receiving Social Security without forfeiting any of your benefits.
What If I Change My Mind
If you receive Social Security benefits at a reduced rate, but then change your mind, you have the option of withdrawing your application and paying back to the government what you’ve already received . Then, you could restart benefits at a later date to take advantage of a higher payout. But you are limited to one withdrawal per lifetime.
For example, let’s say you elected to receive early benefits at age 62, but then decided to go back to work at age 63. You could withdraw your Social Security application within the first 12 months of receiving benefits, pay back the years’ worth of benefits you received, go back to work, and then wait until a later age to restart your benefit checks at a higher level.
For important details about repaying benefits please read the SSA publication If You Change Your Mind.
Recommended Reading: At What Age Can You Start Getting Social Security
Can I Retire At 55 And Take Money From A 401 Or Ira
Saving money in a 401 and/or Individual Retirement Account can help to fund your early retirement goals. But you may run into a snag when trying to take money from those accounts before age 59 ½.
First, theres the Rule of 55. This IRS rule says that if you get fired, laid off or quit your job in the year that you turn 55 you can withdraw money from your current 401 or 403 without a penalty. But you still wouldnt be able to tap any money in 401 plans you had at former employers without a penalty before age 59 ½. The only way to work around this would be rolling your old 401 or 403 into your current one before you retire.
If you have a traditional IRA, you generally cant take money out of it before age 59 ½ without a penalty unless you qualify for certain exceptions. With a Roth IRA, you can always withdraw your original contributions tax- and penalty-free. But to do that, the account must have been open for at least five years beforehand. Otherwise, youll need to wait until age 59 ½ to withdraw earnings without a penalty unless you qualify for an exception.
This means youll need to have savings and investments outside of these plans you can tap. An online brokerage account could be a good place to start. But remember that selling investments at a profit can trigger capital gains tax. You could also supplement a brokerage account with regular savings accounts, money market accounts, cash value life insurance or an annuity.
Theres An Annual Social Security Cost
One of the best features of Social Security benefits is that the government adjusts the benefits each year based on inflation. This is called a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and helps your payments keep up with increasing living expenses. The Social Security COLA is quite valuable its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can get expensive.
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 saw a 1.3% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits.
The Kiplinger Letter predicted in September that the COLA for 2022 could be 6%, which would be the largest adjustment since 1982. The final COLA for 2022 will be announced on Oct. 13.
Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:
- 2009: 5.8%
- 2021: 1.3%
Read Also: If You Are On Social Security