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.
Benefit Amounts Vary Depending On Your Social Security Retirement Age
Your Social Security retirement age and the amount you receive varies depending on several factors. For example, the earliest age you can collect your Social Security retirement benefits is 62, but there is an exception for widows and widowers, who can begin benefits as early as 60. If you start collecting benefits early and continue to work, your benefits may be reduced.
Here’s how this works with the basics on Social Security claiming ages from 60 to 70.
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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Are Social Security Benefits Taxable At Full Retirement Age
Your age does not have an impact on whether you will owe tax on Social Security benefits. Depending on your earnings, you may pay federal taxes on Social Security benefits regardless of the age at which you claim.
Social Security benefits are taxed on amounts exceeding the “provisional income” limit set by the IRS. To calculate your provisional income, add up all non-Social Security sources of income, including nontaxable income such as municipal bond interest, and include half of your annual Social Security income.
Single filers earning provisional income between $25,000 and $34,000 and married joint filers earning between $32,000 and $44,000 will owe income taxes on 50% of their Social Security benefits. For single filers with provisional income above $34,000 and married filers above $44,000, up to 85% of Social Security benefits will be taxable.
Documents To File A Social Security Survivor Claim
The Social Security claims process may require the following documents. While each document may not be required, it is easier to come prepared than to have to make several trips or follow-up appointments.
- Proof of deatheither from a funeral home or death certificate
- Your Social Security number, as well as the deceased workers
- Your birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate, if you are a widow or widower
- Dependent childrens Social Security numbers, if available, and birth certificates
- The name of your bank and your account number so your benefits can be deposited directly into your account.
If you dont have all the documents you need, start the claims process anyway. In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If they cant verify your information online, they have other ways to help you get the information you need.
Questions? If you still have questions, you could leave a comment below, but what may be an even greater help is to join my . Its very active and has some really smart people who love to answer any questions you may have about Social Security. From time to time Ill even drop in to add my thoughts, too. Alsoif you havent already, you should join the 100,000+ subscribers on my YouTube channel!
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For Survivor And Spousal Benefits
A government pensioner who applies for a spousal or survivor benefit based on his or her spouse’s Social Security earnings record will also face cuts. Typically, a spousal benefit is about 50% of a husband or wife’s benefit if that’s more than the spouse would receive based on his or her own work record. A survivor generally receives 100% of a deceased spouse’s benefit.
But if the government pension offset applies, your Social Security spousal or survivor benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of your government pension.
Let’s look at Patricia Kohlen, the retired schoolteacher. The earliest a survivor can apply for a benefit is age 60, six years before full retirement. A survivor benefit is reduced by 28.5% if a widow or widower applies that early. If Kohlen had applied at 60, as she had hoped, the survivor benefit would have been reduced to $1,005, from Kenneth’s monthly $1,406 benefit.
Then the GPO would kick in. At the time, Kohlen’s teacher pension was a little less than $1,900. Two-thirds of $1,900 is $1,266. Because $1,266 is larger than $1,005, she was not eligible for a Social Security survivor benefit at age 60.
The same goes for spousal benefits. Assume your wife receives a $2,000 Social Security payment each month. You want to take a $1,000 spousal benefit. If your public pension is $1,200, your spousal benefit would be reduced to $200.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in the August 2010 issue of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report.
If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66
You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.
The chart below provides examples of the percentage of your full retirement benefit amount you and your spouse would receive from age 62 up to your full retirement age.
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Get Your Social Security Estimates
The SSA website provides estimates for how much you’ll collect if you start receiving benefits at age 62, your full retirement age , and age 70. Remember that you don’t have to start taking your benefits at those milestone ages you and your spouse can start collecting anytime between ages 62 and 70.
Working After Full Retirement Age Faq
Retirees may work while collecting Social Security benefits, but those younger than their FRA will be subject to the retirement earnings test .
Under this test, if your earnings exceed a certain limit , you will temporarily forfeit some or all of your benefits. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefit is recalculated and you may receive most of that money back.
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Survivors Benefits If You Have Children
If your spouse dies and you have children with them under the age of 16, then , you can receive up to 75% of your spouses benefit. Similarly, if your spouse has children under 16 by a previous marriage, that spouse may receive up to 75% of your spouses benefit. Also, each child, up to the age of 18, or 19 if still in secondary school or disabledmay also receive up to 75%.
The maximum a family can receive is up to 180% of the workers PIA. If ex-spouses receive benefits, it does not in any way impact the amount a current spouse will receive . However, if you qualify because you have the workers child in your care, your benefit will affect the amount of the benefits of others on the workers record.
If a spouse or former spouse is not caring for the children of the deceased worker, they may still apply for benefits on their own, if they are at least 60 .
No : Your Surviving Spouse Might Thank You
When one member of a married couple passes away, the surviving spouse can often get the higher of the couple’s two Social Security benefits. While the surviving spouse might be able to live on less than the two could live on as a married couple, the loss of income from going down a benefit could still be financially painful.
In addition to the direct loss of money, a widow or widower soon loses the ability to file taxes jointly. That means that any remaining income might be exposed to higher taxes, which could make a tough situation even tougher.
As a result, consider who you may leave behind once you pass and what your passing will mean for their financial well-being before deciding when to collect your Social Security benefit. Waiting a bit could make an incredible difference to someone you love.
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Before You Make Your Decision
There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is your benefit will be reduced. Each person’s situation is different. It is important to remember:
- If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit.
- That there are other things to consider when making the decision about when to begin receiving your retirement benefits.
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. You’ll get a little 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.
Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Supplemental Security Income helps people who are unable to earn sufficient wages on their own. It is available to adults with disabilities, children with disabilities and people 65 or older. Individuals with enough work history may be eligible to receive SSI in addition to disability or retirement benefits. The amount individuals receive varies based on their other sources of income and where they live.
Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Most people know that you pay tax into the Social Security Trust Fund throughout your career, but some retirees don’t realize that you also have to pay tax on your Social Security benefits once you start taking them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then.
It doesn’t take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. 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 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
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Supplementing Your Social Security Income
For many retirees, the income they receive from Social Security is not enough to live off of: According to AARP, the estimated average Social Security monthly benefit in 2022 is $1,657. If you haven’t started saving for retirement it’s essential to start early so you can take advantage of the power of compound interest .
If your company offers an employer-sponsored 401 with matching contributions, you should prioritize receiving the match because it’s essentially free money.
With a traditional IRA, individuals invest pretax income and don’t pay taxes until they withdraw their earnings. With a Roth IRA individuals invest after-tax money so their withdrawals are tax-free. A Roth IRA is considered a good option for those who anticipate being in a higher income tax bracket in retirement: Rather than paying higher taxes later on, you’ll pay taxes on your contributions upfront.
A Roth IRA, however, is not available to everyone. For 2022, the income limit for single-filers is $144,000 and for married couples filing jointly it’s $204,000. Companies like Vanguard, Wealthfront, Betterment, and Fidelity Investments all provide traditional and Roth IRA options.
Whats Your Social Security Break
If youre looking to maximize your total lifetime Social Security payout, youll want to conduct a break-even analysis to determine when you should start drawing your benefits.
Your break-even age occurs when the total value of higher benefits starts to exceed the total value of lower benefits .
For example, if you are eligible to collect a reduced $900 benefit at age 62 plus 1 month, and your benefit would increase to $1,251 at age 65 and 10 months, your estimated break-even age is 75 years and 5 months.
If you expect to live beyond that age, it could make financial sense to delay drawing benefits. The Social Security Administrations life expectancy calculator can help you decide.
When it comes to calculating a start date for Social Security benefits, however, theres not an age thats appropriate for everyone. Consider your own financial needs, health and other retirement plans before making the call. If you cant reasonably afford to live without taking benefits, it may make little sense to delay taking your benefit.
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Questions Regarding Social Security
If you have questions regarding Social Security, you may want to visit the Social Security Administration’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov to find your answers. If you prefer to speak to someone directly, the SSA is available to speak with callers Monday thru Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m. The toll-free number is 800-772-1213.
What About Taxes On Social Security
Keep in mind that Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your combined income. Your combined income is equal to your adjusted gross income , plus non-taxable interest payments , plus half of your Social Security benefit.
As your combined income increases above a certain threshold , more of your benefit is subject to income tax, up to a maximum of 85%. For help, talk with a CPA or tax professional.
In any case, if you’re still working, you may want to postpone Social Security either until you reach your full retirement age or until your earned income is less than the annual limit. In no situation should you postpone benefits past age 70.
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Spouses Who Dont Qualify For Their Own Social Security
Spouses who didnt work at a paid job or didnt earn enough credits to qualify for Social Security on their own are eligible to receive benefits starting at age 62 based on their spouses record. As with claiming benefits on your own record, your spousal benefit will be reduced if you take it before reaching your FRA. The highest spousal benefit that you can receive is half of the benefit that your spouse is entitled to at their FRA.
While spouses get a lower benefit if they claim before reaching their own FRA, they will not get a larger spousal benefit by waiting to claim after their FRAsay, at age 70. However, a nonworking or lower-earning spouse may get a larger spousal benefit if the working spouse has some late-career, high-earning years that boost their benefits.
No : You May Have $0 Or Low
Social Security bases your benefit level on your highest 35 years of covered earnings. The younger you are when you claim benefits, the bigger the chance that you’ll have $0 or really low-income early-career years on that list. If you’re able to keep working past age 62, you might be able to replace those with some decent, late-career-level earnings numbers.
Having more earnings on your record can make a key difference in what you get from the program, especially if you’re planning on Social Security providing a large portion of your retirement income.
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How Social Security Calculates Your Benefit
The amount you receive in Social Security benefits is based on an average of your 35 highest-earning years. So if you’re earning more now than ever before, your best bet is to keep working, if that’s possible, and delay receiving benefits until age 70. You’ll then be eligible for your maximum benefit.
On the other hand, if you keep working but start taking benefits early, you may run up against the Social Security income limits. For 2021, Social Security will deduct $1 of every $2 you earn over $18,960 if you are under your full retirement age. During the year you reach full retirement age, it will deduct $1 for every $3 you earn over $50,520 until the month you reach full retirement age. After that, you’ll receive your entire benefit.
Note that any money Social Security withholds from your benefit isn’t lost forever. After you reach full retirement age, Social Security will recalculate your benefit and increase it to account for the benefits that were withheld earlier.
The reduction in Social Security benefits for people who earn over a certain amount is based only on earned income. Unearned income, such as from pensions or investments, doesn’t count.