Guest Bloggers, Taxes

Knowing where you stand now with Social Security will pay off

March 23, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 23, 2017

beth kobliner For most people, Social Security is a mystery. We see that 6.2 percent deduction on our pay stubs and wonder: What does it mean for my financial future? The answers: A lot. And not enough.

After tax season, take a few minutes to go online and read your Social Security statement. Even if your retirement is 30 or 40 years away, you need to know where you stand now. The Government Accountability Office tells us that nearly a third of households with members ages 55 and up have no retirement savings plan or pension in place—zip. That means Social Security is the only post-retirement pay they’ll get – and the estimated average monthly benefit for retirees (as of 2017) is just $1,360. (See what I mean by “not enough”?)

And women (lucky us!) have special reasons to worry. In a survey released in December 2016, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reported that men claimed to have more than three times the retirement savings women have. Yes, it appears that the dreaded Pay Gap has a retired older cousin called the Retirement Gap. (Oh, and because women live longer than men, on average, you’ll probably need to save for two or three more years of retirement.)

To check up on your Social Security, log on to, and follow the instructions to view your Social Security Statement. It will show you how much you’re currently eligible for, depending on when you start receiving Social Security benefits. Your monthly benefit amount increases the longer you delay your retirement, up to age 70. People get a smaller monthly benefit if they take early retirement, at age 62, than they would get at full retirement age (67 for anyone born in 1960 or later). Keep working until you turn 70, and you’ll get quite a bit more each month in retirement. Your online Statement breaks it all down.

You can also find out the monthly amount you’re eligible for if you become disabled and can’t work – and whether your family qualifies for survivor benefits in the event of your death.

Confronting your Social Security status annually will give you a much-needed reality check. Could you survive on what the government will send to you each month? (The short answer: Don’t count on it.) How much – and how quickly – do you need to start saving in a 401(k) or IRA? (Hint: the maximum – now.)

So now you know. Social Security needs to be part of your annual financial checkup. Because inspecting the old safety net might inspire you to start saving now so you will have enough to fall back on in retirement.


The Social Security Administration thanks Beth for her guest blog on Social Security Matters. We do not endorse any particular financial advisory product or service.

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  1. Machelle I.

    I just to how do find out how much money lelf coming to me.

    • V.V.

      Hi Machelle: Thank you for using our blog. See our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how you can get a Social Security Statement that shows a record of your earnings and an estimate of your future benefits.

  2. Machelle

    I just to how do find out how much money lelf coming to me.

  3. Tanya B.

    I am on social security benefits since 1996 I have had custody of a child since she was 3 months old in 2010 my husband and I adopted her in 2017 it was finalized but social security says I can not get any back benefits for the years we had full custody even tho we never received any child support or government benefits her biological father gave up his parental rights in 2010 and we received no money from the biological mother now my husband is retired she is getting benefits under his social security number when I basically took care of her with my benefit, why can’t any relative receive benefits the grandparent were already taking care of most of her other grandkids and couldn’t take another one

  4. Lee S.

    First time and it’s all messed up, thanks a lot

  5. machelle t.

    was woundering when i get next payment from my backpay

  6. Heather M.

    I was a disabled child that never completed High School never worked at I’m 30 female and I still receive disability I got married and my husband receives SSDI he is 60 years old when we got married they told us that we will not are smarter than a couple hundred if that’s all they end up leaving me is 160 and survivor benefits at 59 where from my parents.. WE lived in are home 7 years are daughter is 12 and 3 dogs. we lost everything but are self’s but getting married ended up a nightmare watching everything fall apart because there is no programs that can help no law for what has happened nothing’s no programs homeless with nothing thanks for your help government you really support family and there disabled people. What would be the best way to go to work ..30 no GED or diploma no work history and you fall slip spine 50% out of alignment with neck. Dr failed not giving me the care i need insurance company during this would not cover my medical also mammogram and ultrasound every 3 months started 2013 and 2018 still there for cancer. My husband has mesothelioma but cant going for testing and treatment because of loosing everything. Being stuck with no one’s help we 1 year and still don’t qualify for any government help. Thanks , MrsHM 04-11-18

  7. Rick

    Why did I receive a check from the social security administration for $66.

  8. Roberta s.

    Need answers

  9. Michele

    Hello,First I do want to say that these questions & replies it’s very helpful,but I’m asking for my boyfriend he just turned age 66 this October 4,2017 that just past,he has been receiving the “minimum”disability since 2005 when his leg got amputated,due to a acciendent while working for lawn care company…so since he’s turnt that age of the full retirement age 66 & was born in 1951, Why isn’t he intitled to recieve more now,or when he first filed..(the last Socialsecurity representative that replied to him in person was very nasty about it & told him it’s just because you don’t have enough credits,but when he asked HOW MANY CREDITS DOES HE HAVE ? She couldn’t tell him )but I went on SS website & added up his credits (based off an old 2005 benifits verification letter I received it had how much I would get if I would’ve gotten receive for each credit and the maximum amount,for the 4 credits per year , I think it was 700.00$ per credit, to now as of 2018 it’s 1300.00$ per credit,He has 45 credits Dose that count for anything ? Should he be entitled to more then just the minimum monthly disabilty ?

  10. Jo

    I am a military widow. When I was widowed in 1989 at age 29 with two small children I was told by the Social Security office that I would be able to retire with full benefit amounts at age 62. Is that still the case? If so, is my benefit or my husbands benefit the better benefit for me to use? If not, when was this benefit taken away from military widows? Will I still have my Veterans Administration check when I begin taking SSI/SSDI benefits?

    • R.F.

      Hi Jo! If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). To see what effect, if any, your Social Security survivor’s benefits may have on your military/VA benefits contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Thanks.

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