How does Social Security Work? How are Social Security benefits calculated? Ask AARP's Social Security Question and Answer Tool. This online resource presents our members with answers to questions on applying for retirement benefits or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the workings of the cost of living adjustment (COLA), and delayed retirement credits in an easy to understand manner. Knowing how this landmark of American government can best work for you is the aim of AARP's Social Security Question and Answer Tool.
Enter a keyword to get all the answers to your Social Security questions.
A: To get a copy of your Social Security Award Letter, you should contact the Social Security Administration agency directly. — Read Full Answer
A: It can take up to three months to receive your first payment after applying. — Read Full Answer
A: Name changes or misspellings can cause problems but these issues are fairly common. — Read Full Answer
A: There are several documents (i.e. W-2 forms or divorce decree) you will need to file for benefits on an ex-spouse's record. — Read Full Answer
A: Social Security will allow you to withdraw your application for retirement benefits during your first 12 months of entitlement. — Read Full Answer
Q: I want to start collecting my Social Security benefits when I turn 62 on November 14, 2017. I understand that the first benefit on December will not be paid until January 2018. My question is: Should I apply for it now to start the process or am I supposed to wait until November 14 to apply?
A: The Social Security Administration recommends filing your application for benefits three months before the month you want to start your benefit. — Read Full Answer
Q: I understand I must begin collecting Social Security at 70 years old. My birthday is in November. At my 70th birthday may I wait until January before applying for Social Security benefits? What happens if a 70-year-old does not apply to collect benefits until an older age? Are benefits paid retroactively? Would some benefits be forfeited?
A: You don’t have to begin collecting Social Security at age 70 but your benefit will not increase if you delay claiming past your 70th birthday. — Read Full Answer
Q: We always hear about the benefits of waiting to collect Social Security, but no one talks about the opportunity cost of not starting at 62, i.e. how may years at the higher benefit it will take to make up for the years of benefits one did not receive from 62 to the time they start collecting. Shouldn't life expectancy enter into this calculation?
A: Life expectancy and personal health are important factors to consider in deciding when to start your Social Security benefit. — Read Full Answer
A: The breakeven age varies based on the ages compared and type of benefits received. Using this strategy may lead to a loss of additional benefits. — Read Full Answer
A: Benefits are reduced if an individual chooses to claim for early retirement rather than wait until reaching full retirement age. — Read Full Answer
A: You can receive a government pension and file for Social Security at the same time. Yet, there is a possibility that your benefits may be reduced. — Read Full Answer
A: You may be able to increase and recalculate your benefit amount if you continue to work. — Read Full Answer
A: There is a Do Over provision to repay benefits but you must withdraw your application within one year. — Read Full Answer
A: The maximum benefit only applies to the amount at full retirement age. — Read Full Answer
A: All Social Security benefits are amended for inflation using a cost of living adjustment formula. — Read Full Answer
A: If you file for Social Security before full retirement age, the benefit reduction is based on how many months you claimed early retirement. — Read Full Answer
A: Social Security will compensate you for any time you were underpaid. — Read Full Answer
A: You should contact the Social Security Administration and request corrections to any errors in your earnings history. — Read Full Answer
A: Claiming early retirement at age 62, rather than age 66, will permanently reduce your monthly payment. — Read Full Answer
A: Benefits are calculated to increase by a certain percentage if you delay your retirement claim until full retirement age. — Read Full Answer
A: AARP feels that any Social Security reforms - cuts or changes to Social Security - will likely take place gradually. — Read Full Answer
Q: We're both at full retirement age in Jan 2016. I filed a restricted application in Jan 2016 and my wife has been receiving spousal benefit since then. I decided to apply for my benefit before reaching age 70. Will my wife continue to receive her spousal benefit or will she have to switch to her own benefit?
A: It sounds like you filed and suspended on your own record and your wife then filed a restricted application for spouse’s benefits on your record. — Read Full Answer
A: Social Security will compare the survivor benefit with your own retirement benefit and give you the greater of the two. — Read Full Answer
A: There is no penalty for switching between survivor and retirement benefits. — Read Full Answer
A: Claiming a survivor benefit will not reduce your retirement benefit. — Read Full Answer
A: Retirement benefits are not reduced for claiming survivor benefits early. — Read Full Answer
A: Family members of a deceased worker may be eligible for survivor benefits. — Read Full Answer