Do you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits? Use this guide to help you determine if you are eligible.
To Receive Social Security Retirement Benefits, You Must:
- Be age 62 or older
- Have worked for at least ten years
- Made a minimum of $5,200 or more
- Pass the threshold for earnings test (This has changed in 2017. Now the threshold is $16,920 if you come of retirement age after 2017, and $44,880 if you reach retirement age during 2017.)
Some things have changed in 2017 when it comes to qualifying and receiving benefits. The maximum taxable earnings have changed from $118,500 to $127,200. Also, if you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll get a 0.3% cost of living adjustment (COLA).
What Is Full Retirement Age?
Full retirement age refers to the age you must be to collect your full Social Security benefits. Your full retirement age is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. If you were born after that time period, your full retirement age gradually rises bit by bit until it hits age 67. When you reach this age, you are eligible for your full Social Security retirement benefits.
How Are My Social Security Retirement Benefits Calculated?
To calculate your retirement benefits, your entire work history is examined. Then your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are calculated by taking the 35 most profitable years, averaging them, and dividing them by 12. Then this is used in the formula to find your primary insurance amount, or PIA. This will be your total Social Security benefit amount. The formula is:
- AIME of $5,336 or higher – 15%
- AIME between $885 - $5,336 - 32%
- AIME of $885 – 90%
The maximum monthly benefit amount for beneficiaries in 2017 is $2,687. If you decided to claim your benefits early, between age 62 and 67, your benefits will be permanently reduced. For 2017, the maximum monthly benefit amount for someone who retires early is $1,993.
Conversely, if you wait to claim your benefits until you are 70 years old, your benefits will permanently increase. For 2017, this maximum monthly benefit amount is $3,547.
How Much Money Can I Expect to Get from Social Security?
If you are still working, there is no exact way to calculate what your benefits would be. However, you should be receiving your Social Security statement in the mail each year, once it has been updated. Use this as a guide to determine how much money you will be entitled to when you retire. This statement also includes information such as a history of your earnings and disability and survivor benefit estimates.
How Do I Claim My Social Security Benefits?
The easiest way to claim your benefits is online at www.ssa.gov. It only takes a few minutes. You can also apply by phone, Monday through Friday, from 7am to 7pm at 800-772-1213. You can also visit the Social Security Administration at one of their local offices – they do recommend you make an appointment. Be aware that it does take some time for the administration to process your application.
The task of getting ready for retirement can be daunting. You will want to make sure you have all your plans in place before you take that final step so that you can relax after a lifetime of hard work.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Are you looking for a legal advocate to fight for your right to Social Security Disability benefits? Contact Disability Action Advocates right away at (888) 401-3920 to schedule a case evaluation consultation with a Social Security Disability representative in Reno.