Whats Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is when youre eligible to receive full Social Security benefits. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year: Under current law, if you were born in 1951 or later, your full retirement age is now some point after age 65all the way up to age 67 for those born after 1959. If you were born before 1951, youve already reached age 66 and full retirement age.
Retirement ages for full Social Security benefits
If you were born in
Your full retirement age is
1950 or earlier
Can Early Retirement Affect My Social Security Benefits
Workers can start receiving full retirement age benefits at 66 years old if they were born between 1943 and 1954. For those born in 1955 and beyond, the full retirement age is 67. When a worker decides to receive their benefits earlier than the full retirement age, the total amount received is reduced. According to the United States Social Security Administration, a worker born in 1957 will receive a 27.5% reduction in total retirement income from Social Security when choosing to receive early retirement age benefits. Choosing to take early retirement will also affect the amount that a spouse will receive. In the same example, a workers spouse would also receive a 32.5% reduction in benefits. The actual percentage of early retirement age reduction will depend on several factors including the workers birth year and the date of the early retirement.
What If I Continue Working In My 60s
Many people whose health allows them to continue working in their 60s and beyond find that staying in the workforce keeps them young and gives them a sense of purpose. If this sounds like something youâd like to do, know that working after claiming early benefits may affect the amount you receive from Social Security. Why? Because the Social Security Administration wants to spread out your earnings so you donât outlive them. If you claim Social Security benefits early and then continue working, youâll be subject to whatâs called the Retirement Earnings Test.
If youâre between age 62 and your full retirement age, and youâre claiming benefits, you need to know about the Earnings Test Exempt Amount, a threshold that changes yearly. For 2021, the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount is $18,960/year . If youâre in this age group and claiming benefits, then every $2 you make above the Exempt Amount will reduce by $1 the Social Security benefits you’ll receive.
Contrary to popular belief, this money doesnât disappear. It gets credited back to you – with interest – in the form of higher future benefits. You may hear people grumbling about the Social Security âEarnings Taxâ, but itâs not really a tax. Itâs a deferment of your benefits designed to keep you from spending too much too soon. And after you hit your full retirement age, you can work to your heartâs content without any reduction in your benefits.
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Claiming Social Security At Age 70
If you are able to delay claiming your Social Security benefit until you reach age 70, you will earn a significantly higher benefit. After your Full Retirement Age of 66 , your benefit goes up by eight percent each year. Consequently, if your full retirement benefit at age 66 was $1,000 per month, and you delay claiming your benefit, it will be $1,080 per month by age 67 or an additional $960 per year. If you delay until age 70, it will be 124 percent of your expected benefit or $1,240 a month. That comes out to $2,880 more each year.
Delaying past age 70 will not increase your benefit, however.
How Can I Apply For Social Security Disability For My Spouse
You can apply online, by calling Social Security or by visiting a local Social Security office. Social Security disability for a spouse can also be paid if only one spouse is disabled. For example, if you receive SSDI, your spouse can receive up to 50 percent of your benefit amount in addition to what you receive.
Maximum Taxable Earnings Rose To $142800
In 2020, employees were required to pay a 6.2% Social Security tax on income of up to $137,700. Any earnings above that amount were not subject to the tax. In 2021, the tax rate remains the same at 6.2% , but the income cap has increased to$142,800.
The flip side is that as the taxable maximum income increases, so does the maximum amount of earnings used by the SSA to calculate retirement benefits. In 2020, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age was $3,011. In 2021, the maximum benefit increases by $137 per month to $3,148.
Social Security recipients can receive a 32% larger payment each month if they claim benefits at age 70 instead of at their regular full retirement age.
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
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What Is Full Retirement Age
In addition to how much youve earned over the years, the size of your monthly Social Security benefit depends on when you were born and the age when you start claimingdown to the month.
Youll receive your full monthly benefit if you start claiming when you reach what Social Security considers your full retirement age , sometimes also referred to as normal retirement age. FRA was 65 when Social Security began, but it has been raised to 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. To find your FRA, see the chart below.
|Finding Your Full Retirement Age|
Can I Get Social Security If I Work
Yes, you can receive Social Security benefits while you are still working. If youve reached full retirement age, you can work and earn as much as youd like and receive full benefits. If youre under full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced temporarily. The money is not lost, however. Social Security will credit it to your record when you reach full retirement age, resulting in a higher benefit.
The reduction is $1 for every $2 of earned income over $18,960 in 2021 for those younger than full retirement age. During the year when you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in income over $50,520 in 2021. That continues until the month when you become fully eligible.
Retirees can contribute to individual retirement accounts as long as they have earned income. However, Social Security benefits are not considered earned income for this purpose.
What If I Take Benefits Early
If you choose to receive your Social Security check up to 36 months before your full retirement age, be aware that your benefit is permanently reduced by five-ninths of 1% for each month.
If you start more than 36 months before your full retirement age, the benefit is further reduced by five-twelfths of 1% per month, for the rest of retirement.
For example, lets assume that you stop working at age 62. If your full retirement age is 66 and you elect to start benefits at age 62, the reduced benefit calculation is based on 48 months. This means that the reduction for the first 36 months is 20% and 5% for the remaining 12 months. Overall, your benefits would be permanently reduced by 25%.
How Does The Social Security Administration Calculate Benefits
Benefits also depend on how much money youâve earned in life. The Social Security Administration takes your highest-earning 35 years of covered wages and averages them, indexing for inflation. They give you a big fat âzeroâ for each year you donât have earnings, so people who worked for fewer than 35 years may see lower benefits.
The Social Security Administration also makes annual Cost of Living Adjustments, even as you collect benefits. That means the retirement income you collect from Social Security has built-in protection against inflation. For many people, Social Security is the only form of retirement income they have that is directly linked to inflation. Itâs a big perk that doesnât get a lot of attention.
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Learn About Retirement Benefits
We want you to know what Social Security can mean for you and your familys financial future. In this section, you can learn how Social Security works, whos eligible for retirement benefits, and what to consider before applying. Read on to understand how Social Security fits into your retirement plan.
Your Social Security Benefits Will Be Taxed
Most people know that you pay tax into the Social Security Trust Fund throughout your career, but did you know that you may also have to pay tax on your Social Security benefits once you start receiving them? Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then.
As a result, it doesn’t take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be pinched by Uncle Sam. For example, a married couple with a combined income of more than $32,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Higher earners may have to pay income tax on up to 85% of their benefits.
You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
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Tax Considerations For Social Security Benefits
How do these tax considerations affect when you should apply for Social Security benefits? At todays , they may not have much of an impact on most people. Still, tax rates and income thresholds can change, so its worth remembering that you will lose less of your Social Security to taxes if you are in a lower marginal tax bracket when you begin to collect.
You should also note that if you decide to return to work, even part time, and arent yet at your FRA, then your Social Security benefits may be temporarily reduced. The reduction is $1 for every $2 of earned income over $18,960 . During the year when you reach your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in income over $50,520 until the month when you become fully eligible. That money isnt lost, however. The SSA will credit it to your record when you reach your FRA, resulting in a higher benefit.
What Is The Future Of Social Security
If youre skeptical about the future of Social Security or wary of potential changes such as means testingwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits for the wealthy, or an increase in the full retirement ageyou may be tempted to start benefits early, under the assumption that its better to have something than nothing. The 2020 annual report from the Social Security Trustees, released in April, projects that the Social Security Trust Fund has enough resources to cover all promised retirement benefits until 2035, and will cover 79% of scheduled benefits for new retirees thereafter without changing the current system. The 2020 report does not include an adjusted projection due to impacts, if any, from the pandemic.
Over the longer term, changes such as later benefit dates or means testing may be considered.
In any situation, if youre particularly concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, thats a good reason to save more, and earlier, for your retirement.
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Will Your Spouse Be Affected
When to begin receiving Social Security is more complicated when you’re married. The age at which you begin receiving benefits may significantly affect the amount of lifetime income you and your spouse receive, as well as the benefit the surviving spouse will be entitled to, so you’ll need to consider how your decision will affect your joint retirement plan.
Costs Of The Solution
Two issues that are likely to arise in any discussion of fixing this problem are its cost to the Social Security trust fund and its cost to the federal budget. With regard to the cost to the Social Security trust fund, there are three ways to look at the issue.
One way is to view the cost relative to costs in a world in which no pandemic had occurred. For example, the cost could be measured using the economic assumptions in the most recent Social Security trustees report , which were formulated before the pandemic began. From this perspective, the cost would be zero because the legislative change would restore the world of Social Security benefits to what it would have looked like had there been no pandemic.
A second way of looking at the issue is to view the cost of the change relative to costs in a world that reflected economic assumptions indicative of the economic recession caused by the pandemic. From this viewpoint, there would be a cost associated with fixing the problem. For example, the chief actuary of the SSA estimates that if the AWI in 2020 were to fall 5.9 percent below its 2019 level, the AWI adjustments proposed by Chairman Larson would cost $90 billion in present-value dollars for the 75-year period from 2020 through 2094about 0.02 percent of taxable payroll over that period. . The cost over the 10-year period from 2020 to 2029 would be about $21 billion in nominal dollars.
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How Does Social Security Affect Medicare And My Retirement Benefits
Although Medicare is a separate benefit offered by the government, it often times goes hand in hand with Social Security retirement benefits as a means of providing a financial safety net for retired workers.
Medicare is the government sponsored health insurance plan for people who are at least 65 years old. The only exceptions to this are the disabled or those who have permanent kidney failure, both of whom can get Medicare at any age.
Medicare is broken into four parts:
Medicare Part A Hospital insurance that helps pay for in-patient hospital care and some follow-up services.
Medicare Part B Medical insurance that helps pay for doctors services, outpatient hospital care and related medical services.
Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage Plans allow people to combine Part A and Part B to get medical services from a single provider organization.
Medicare Part D Prescription drug coverage helps pay for prescribed medications.
Medicare and Social Security benefits are linked in that when you turn 65 years old, your Part A Medicare hospital insurance begins automatically. If you live in the United States or U.S. territories, youll also be enrolled in Part B Medical insurance coverage as well.
Regardless of whether or not youre getting Social Security benefits, you should sign up for Medicare about three months before your 65th birthday.
What To Consider Before Filing For Social Security
A larger benefit check sounds great, but there are tradeoffs, and soon-to-retire folks should consider multiple issues before they decide one way or the other on when to file. If you really want to consider all the avenues, then youll have to think about your finances and longevity two issues that people have a hard time grappling with.
But heres the key tradeoff: you can file early and take a reduced benefit, expecting that a shorter lifespan will mean you receive more now, or you could file at full retirement age or later and claim a bigger check, and eventually live long enough to claim more than the first approach.
Social Security is like longevity insurance, says Brent Neiser, a certified financial planner and former chair of the Consumer Advisory Board at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its a stream of payments that will not stop throughout your life, so delaying your benefits to keep those payments as large as possible forms a helpful base to your retirement plan.
Neiser urges those who have not saved enough for retirement to use whatever means possible to postpone their Social Security benefits until after their full retirement age to help boost their future income.
You can use personal savings to help bridge the gap, but ideally you should plan to work a little longer , Neiser says.
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