In light of my current age of 60, I’m wondering if I’ll be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits in the future. It’s not like I didn’t buy them. In the name of who?
The amount of Social Security FICA taxes withheld from your past work earnings determines your eligibility for benefits under the Social Security system. In order to qualify for Social Security benefits, you must have worked, contributed to SS while working, and earned at least 40 quarters of credit.
The maximum number of credits you can earn each year is four, which means you need to have worked for at least ten years and contributed to Social Security before you can receive benefits. If you make at least $6040 in 2022, you will receive four credits the amount needed per credit varies by year.
The amount of compensation you’ll receive is based on your lifetime average monthly earnings adjusted for inflation. As your annual earnings from which FICA tax was deducted increase, so will your Social Security benefit.
For maximum benefits, however, you must have worked, earned, and contributed to Social Security for at least 35 years. As long as you have at least 35 years of earnings, Social Security will put $0 earnings in some years to make it 35 and thus calculate your benefit.
Your primary benefit is also known as your “Primary Insurance Amount” or “PIA”, which you receive when you reach full retirement age, which will be calculated based on the monthly average over those 35 years FRA.
Your SS retirement benefit cannot be claimed until you are 62 years of age, but if you claim at that age, your benefit will be permanently reduced by 30%.
Waiting until you’re 67 years old to file for Social Security is the only way to ensure you receive your full benefit. Delaying until age 70, when your maximum benefit would be 24% higher than it would be at your FRA, allows you to get more money out of your Social Security benefits.
Your primary Social Security benefit is based on when you claim within an 8-year window, and how much you get depends on when you claim.
There is a limit on how much money can be earned prior to your FRA before Social Security takes away some of your benefits. For instance, in 2022, a claimant claiming at the age of 63 would have a maximum annual income of $19,560, and SS would reduce benefits by $1 for every $2 over that amount a monthly limit may be imposed if you claim mid-year.
If an individual reaches the age of retirement FRA, there is no limit to how much they can earn.
Obtaining a Statement of Estimated Benefits from the Social Security Administration is the quickest and most accurate way to learn if you are eligible for Social Security benefits and how much you can expect to receive at various ages.
By calling SS at 1-800-772-1213, or by creating a personal “my Social Security” online account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount, you can request that information.
There are two ways you can see how much your Social Security benefits will be if you claim them at different points in time: by creating an online account and downloading a Statement of Estimated Benefits.