For American workers, Social Security is part of the retirement plan. Most people know that it provides replacement income for qualified retirees and their families, but not many people know it is not just retirement benefits.
In this post, you’ll learn about Social Security a little bit more.
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First of all, what is Social Security?
Social Security Statement contains information about your earnings history and Medicare taxes you paid.
The Social Security taxes you pay go into the Social Security Trust Funds that are used to pay benefits to current beneficiaries. (1)
Social Security Fact 1: Social Security benefits are adjusted yearly to reflect the increase, if any, in the cost-of-living as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
Who is eligible for Social Security benefits?
You can receive Social Security benefits based on your earnings record if you are age 62 or older, or disabled or blind, and have enough work credits. (2)
You can earn up to four credits each year and each credit represents a certain amount of earnings. For example, the amount needed to earn one credit is $1,410 in 2020. (3) You can work all year to earn four credits! If you earn four credits a year, then you will earn 40 credits after 10 years of work.
Social Security Fact 2: The amount needed to earn one credit is $1,510 in 2022. (It will increase every year.)
Benefit of Social Security
Save for retirement
Social Security is not meant to be your only source of income in retirement. You will likely need other savings, investments, pensions, or retirement accounts to live comfortably in retirement. However, Social Security will replace about 40% of your annual pre-retirement earnings, although this can vary based on an individual’s circumstances.
As of 2021, your full retirement age is 67, earliest is 62. Starting retirement benefits before your full retirement age lowers this percentage, and starting benefits after your full retirement age increases it. (4)
And one more thing, your Social Security benefits last as long as you live.
Unable to work due to a mental or physical disability
A disability can happen at any age. If you become unable to work due to a mental or physical disability, and you meet certain eligibility requirements, you and your family may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits.
Benefits for family members
The loss of the family wage earner can be damaging both emotionally and financially. Social Security is maybe helpful to your children or widowers.
For instance, if you are the widow or widower of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can: (5)
- Receive full benefits at full retirement age for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60.
- Begin receiving benefits as early as age 50 if you are disabled and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
- Receive survivors benefits at any age, if you have not remarried and you take care of the deceased worker’s child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives child’s benefits.
How Much Will I Get from Social Security?
According to U.S News, the average Social Security benefit was $1,543 per month in January 2021. The maximum possible Social Security benefit for someone who retires at full retirement age is $3,148 in 2021. However, a worker would need to earn the maximum taxable amount, currently $142,800 for 2021, over a 35-year career to get this Social Security payment. (6)
Social Security payments are calculated using the 35 highest-earning years of your career and are adjusted for inflation. It will change from time to time.
Workers contribute 6.2% of their paychecks into Social Security, which is matched by their employers. (7) You’ve probably already paid for Social Security and Medicare taxes since you first began working because it automatically deducted from your paycheck.
So, it’s better to understand the benefits of it! Social Security is your money. You paid for it. Use the benefit.
You can check the estimated Social Security benefits by signing up for the Social Security website.
- U.S. taxpayer expense. (n.d.). Social Security. SSA. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/WhatAreTheTrust.htm.
- U.S. taxpayer expense. (n.d.). Understanding Supplemental Security Income Social Security Entitlement -2021 Edition. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-entitle-ussi.htm
- Social Security. Quarter of Coverage. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/QC.html.
- U.S. taxpayer expense. (n.d.). Retirement Benefits. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html
- U.S. taxpayer expense. (n.d.). Disability Benefits. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/
- How much you will get from Social Security | Social … (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/social-security/articles/how-much-you-will-get-from-social-security
- Brandon, E. (n.d.). Don’t forget, Social Security benefits may be taxable. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/dont-forget-social-security-benefits-may-be-taxable