Retirement

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

January 27, 2022 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: January 25, 2022

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, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Comments

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  1. Shelly

    If I am on disability and turn 62 do I have to change to retirement ss? This would be a much lower payment at 62.
    Could I stay on disability Till age 67?

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shelly. Thanks for your question. When you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. Starting the month you reach retirement age, you will get benefits with no limit on your earnings. If you have additional specific questions, please 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.

      Reply
  2. Bill J.

    The retirement benefit calculator shows the same amount for an entire year, regardless of when in that year you start receiving payments. Isn’t the amount changed monthly throughout the year? If a person starts receiving benefits six months after their birthday month, is that amount the same as if they had started the benefits in their birthday month? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Bill. Thanks for your questions. Your payment amount is based on when you decide to start your benefits, once you have reached your age of entitlement. If you choose to get benefits before full retirement age, they will be reduced. Your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age. Sometimes, the month you choose to start benefits could mean higher benefit payments for you and your family.  For more information, visit here. Social Security retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage for each month you delay starting your benefits beyond full retirement age up to age 70. We hope this helps. 

      Reply
  3. NEAL P.

    My wife started collecting benefits at age 62, can she start collecting on my benefit if it is higher than her current benefit? Even though she has been collecting for three years.

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Neal. Thanks for your question. For your wife to qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Keep in mind if she qualifies for her own benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay her own benefits first. If her benefits as a spouse are higher than her own benefits, she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Visit our Benefits Planner for more information. For specific questions, your wife can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. She can also contact her local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. Greg S.

    If I am receiving SSI benefits now and become disabled next year, will my benefits increase next year do to the disability?

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Greg. Thanks for visiting our blog. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities, who meet the financial limits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. For more information on the difference between Social Security disability and SSI, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability. We base it on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, and we used the highest years of your earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount. We hope this information is helpful. 

      Reply
  5. Mary D.

    My husband passed away Oct 2021. MY Frist call to you was Nov 18 . Please review my account. Let me know what is happening

    Thank you,
    Mary Duclos

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Mary. We are sorry to hear about your loss. 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.

      Reply
  6. Fito

    This is very good article for retired people because they have worried about after retired.This is very informative for them.https://fitmehow.com/

    Reply
  7. Cyndy

    Is there a family maximum benefit amount if its just a husband and wife’s benefits. Meaning if the husband gets full benefits and is 70 and the spouse is getting ready to collect benefits at her full retirement age and receives the max amount for benefits is there a total they can only receive? will the wife have to take less than her amount if there is a family max?

    Reply
    • Kenny O.

      Hello Cyndy, There is a limit to the amount we can pay your family. The total varies, depending on your benefit amount and the number of qualifying family members on your record. Generally, the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit. However, Keep in mind that if your spouse qualifies for their own benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay their own benefits first. If their benefits as a spouse is higher than their own benefits, the spouse will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For Your Family for more information. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Michael G.

    HI,
    I am still working and will turn 66 on XX this year. My understanding of the rules is for being born in 1956, I may begin receiving benefits at the age of 66 and 4 months. Further, I understand that I may earn income from employment without penalty. When applying, what should I wish to have my first check at the earliest possible date without income penalty or other reductions. So, let’s say I turn 66 and 4 months old on October 20. Should have my benefit begin in October, or November, the first month after I turn 66 and 4 months?

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Michael. If your full retirement age is 66 and 4 months and you turn 66 and 4 months on October 20, 2022, you will attain your full retirement age in October 2022. When you reach full retirement age, your earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn. For more information, please visit our Receiving Benefits While Working page. Thanks! 

      Reply
      • Judy S.

        I am in the same situation, I turned 66 on February 28 when do I file, when I turn 66 and 4 months so I get my full benifits. I started to do it on line and it said my benifits would start the day I was filling it out and I didn’t finish because I thought I won’t get my full benifits and I still work, I’m so confused. I have sat every night when I get home from work on the 800 number hope someone will pick up, I am now.

        Reply
        • Kenny O.

          Hi, Judy. Age 62 is the earliest you can get retirement benefits. Please bear in mind that the decision on when to apply for benefits is a personal one. We can only provide you with the information to help you make the best choice according to your own situation. Our Retirement Planner provides detailed information about your Social Security retirement benefits under current law. It also points out things you may want to consider as you prepare for the future. We hope this helps.

          Reply
          • Bill B.

            This does not answer Judy’s question.Would like to know answer as well myself.Retiring June 30th.Can apply now in April or do I have to wait until June 30th.

          • Ann C.

            Hi, Bill. Thanks for visiting our blog. Social Security retirement applications can be filed up to 4 months in advance. Medicare applications can be filed up to 3 months prior to age 65. When you are ready to file, you can do so by applying online We hope this helps. 

  9. Chunucha

    This 4 Questions are really awesome…
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    Reply
  10. Jay

    Impact of declared COLA on future estimated earrings.

    My wife and I both are retired and not collecting benefits yet. My (I am 66) estimated earnings went up by 5.9% from last year as expected. However, my wife (61+) went up very little. Appreciate an explanation on how the COLA impacts future estimates and whether date of birth is also a factor?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Jay. Unfortunately, your comment is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. 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. Your wife can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. She can also contact her local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply

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