Social Security Basics




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We’d all like to retire someday. Once you do, you’ll be depending on your Social Security benefits for some or all of your expenses. Social Security is complex, but here are a few key pieces of information you should know about the program as it currently stands:  

 

How Old Do I Have To Be To Get My Benefits?

You’re allowed to retire as early as age 62 and as late as age 70. If you retire early, you won’t receive the maximum payout that you would at full retirement age.

 

Full retirement age depends on when you were born. As of now it’s 66, but it’s slowly increasing. You can find a chart that will help you determine your full retirement age by year of birth here.   

 

How Often Are Benefits Dispersed?

You will receive a check every month. The actual day you receive your check depends on your birthday and when you filed for retirement. You can find a payment calendar on the Social Security Administration’s website.

 

How Much Will I Receive?

Your payout depends on when you retired and on your lifetime income. If you’d like to get an idea of how much you’ll earn through social security, you can get a rough estimate with this calculator. Keep in mind that this calculator is based on your yearly earnings, so it won’t be accurate compared to your final payout.

 

In addition to your income, your benefits will be reduced if you retire before full retirement age. This chart contains a more detailed explanation of how your benefits could be affected.  

 

How Do I Apply?

There are three ways to apply.

 

-You can apply online here.  

-You can apply over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213.

-You can visit your local Social Security office and apply in person.

 

Thinking about retirement? Here are a few questions you should answer for yourself.  

 



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