4 Questions About Social Security That Can Help You Plan Your Retirement

January 27, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: November 2, 2023

woman sitting at a desk on a laptop computerSocial Security benefits are part of the retirement plan of almost every American worker. If you’re among the many people covered under Social Security, you should know what your future benefit may be. These monthly payments may be a vital part of your retirement income.

We base your benefit payment on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years you didn’t work or had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had worked steadily. Even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years old and your spouse receives retirement or disability benefits. 

Our online retirement portal is a great place to start mapping out your retirement plan. There, we provide important information that you should know. For example, have you considered:

  • When you should apply to start retirement benefits?
  • What documents you need to provide?
  • Which factors may affect your retirement benefits?
  • What you should remember to do after you apply for retirement benefits?

You can use your personal my Social Security account to get an instant estimate of your future retirement benefits. You can also see the effects of starting your retirement benefits at different ages.

Benefits for family members may also be important to you. When you start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. You can learn more on our Benefits page. Please share this information with family and friends to help them prepare for retirement.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. JS

    Hello, How long will take to receive SS benefits once an application has been submitted? I have applied for my full benefit in July 2021, and according to records, my application is being reviewed since August 5, 2021. In the meantime I attempted to reach the SSA by phone, but unfortunately, numerous phone calls were not answered. I am running out money and need benefit payments as soon as possible. Will you also pay interest for the last half year? Your prompt response is greatly appreciated.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, JS. We are sorry to hear that. Please be aware our call volume is higher than normal. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  2. JW

    If im working full time making over 100K, can i start collecting my social security prior to full retirement age. i understand that i will get the deduction for not waiting but is there and other penalties taken out

    • Gardener54

      You can start your benefits as early as age 62, but you will take a considerable hit if you file that early. But there is another rule that applies if you are working and collecting benefits at the same time and you are under full retirement age. Your benefits are reduced. The reduced amount will be paid back to you later, after you reach full retirement age, but in the meantime you will receive lower benefits. Here’s the link to SS explaining it-

    • Ann C.

      Hi, JW. Thanks for your question. If you are younger than full retirement age during all of 2022, we must deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $19,560. Check out our publication, How Work Affects Your Benefits, for more information. We hope this helps.

  3. Shannon D.

    If I have a specific question, is there a ph# I can call to ask that question based on my individual SSDI situation?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shannon. Thanks for your question. You can call us at .1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security officeWe respond to questions and provide general information on our Retirement, Survivors, Disability, Medicare and SSI programs. If you have a general question, we encourage you to ask here. But remember, never post personal information on social media. We hope this helps.


  4. Lora D.

    My husband filed for disability but got ssi . He is self-employed but had not done his taxes in the last 5yr. ( Silly of him) But has recently got all his past taxes filed . How do we go about getting disability for him we filed 2 yrs ago had to appeal it and that’s when they approved ssi he has only been receiving ssi for 3 months Can he get the back payment.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Lora. Unfortunately, your husband’s situation is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For his security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. He can call us at .1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. He can also contact his local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  5. Edward D.

    whaaaaaaaat? please do not post here

  6. Edward D.

    Wrong blog- maybe you made a mistake posting here?

  7. Randy D.

    Medicare should cover a percentage of dental and vision costs. This could be easily added to Part B since it already covers doctor visits, etcetera. For the monthly deduction of 170.10, I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

    • AVS

      Medicare should cover part of dental and vision costs. At least, it should cover Dental and Vision exams which are crucial during Retirement age.

  8. Jimmy D.

    Thanks so much for the consistent information provided! Retirement is scary, at least for me, so thanks !!

  9. Donald S.

    Well done.

  10. Edward D.

    As a financial planner I find the public is unaware that the pricing of Part B and D is based on income that may be substantially higher in previous tax years. They are shocked to discover that the fee is basically the same as employer sponsored health insurance. SS/Medicare needs to do more to get the message out that the life changing event appeal may be possible. Otherwise, recipients adopt a negative view of Medicare which with more communication would help to align Medicare with the recipient, not against them.

    • M. R.

      Thank you for sharing the Edward. This is so true and frustrating.

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