Social Security is a vital program of federal benefits for the elderly. The program is funded through payroll taxes that are taken out of your paycheck during your working years. Seniors will receive more than $1 trillion in Social Security benefits this year.
Average Social Security check
The average size of a Social Security check is $1,500 per month. The amount you receive depends on several factors: how much you made in your working years, the year you were born, and your age when you begin collecting benefits.
Social Security was not designed to be one’s sole source of income as an older adult, but nearly one-quarter of Americans 65 and older receive 90 percent of their income from Social Security. How can you make the most of your benefits?
Social Security doesn’t have to be scary! Taking these steps will make the process of filing for Social Security much easier.
10 steps to simplify Social Security
- Use Social Security’s retirement calculator to find out what your benefits would be based on your age at claiming. You can also try the AARP Social Security calculator to see how much you might receive.
- Open a “my Social Security” account on SSA.gov so that you can easily manage your benefits online.
- Enroll online in direct deposit so that you can receive your benefits directly into your bank account.
- The earliest you can receive benefits is 62. However, claiming benefits early will reduce the amount of your monthly check.
- Wait until you are older to collect your benefits, so that you can collect more each month. For every year you wait between 62 and your full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will increase by 7 percent. If you surpass your FRA and still have not begun to collect your benefits, they will increase by 8 percent each year until you reach age 70. Try to make use of your savings before collecting Social Security; that way your check will be larger for the rest of your life.
- Your full retirement age (FRA) is based on the year you were born. See the chart below to determine your FRA.
- Social Security covers more than just retired individuals. It also covers spouses, ex-spouses, and children of retired persons, disabled workers and their families, and survivors of deceased retirees.
- You CAN take Social Security while you are still working, but the amount you receive each month may be reduced until you reach your full retirement age.
- In 2020, the maximum amount you can receive from Social Security each month is $3,011. To get this amount, your earnings must have exceeded Social Security’s maximum taxable income for at least 35 years.
- Sign up for Social Security at SSA.gov or by phone at 800-772-1213. Local Social Security offices are currently closed, but as soon as they reopen you’ll be able to file for and manage benefits in person.