FAQ: Social Security
What is the average check distributed by SS, and what is the maximum that can be drawn at full retirement age?
The average check is $1500/ month, and the maximum in 2016 was $2600/ month for someone retiring at full retirement age.
Typically, how much of your needs during retirement does social security cover for the average person?
What is the amount of SS benefit based on?
Your highest 35 years of earnings. If you have years when you did not contribute to SS, zeros are averaged in. If you keep working after you start drawing SS, any year you earn more than one of your lowest years; it will make your SS benefit increase for the next year.
When should I draw my SS benefit?
That varies on your situation, but if you start drawing at the earliest date, 62 years of age, it will reduce your SS benefit by around 30% from full retirement age. If you were born after 1943, you SS benefit increases by 8% per each year after your full retirement age (this is around 66 to 67). It keeps increasing by 8% until you reach 70 years of age and then it stops increasing. By waiting from 62 years of age to 70, your benefit will increase by 64%.
What is full retirement age?
Age To Receive Full Social Security Benefits (Called “full retirement age” or “normal retirement age.”)
Birth year years to reach full retirement age
|1955||66 + 2 months|
|1956||66 + 4 months|
|1957||66 + 6 months|
|1958||66 + 8 months|
|1959||66 + 10 months|
|1960 and up||67|
How much is the spousal benefit?
You are eligible for one half of your spouse’s benefit while they are living, and 100% of the benefit when your spouse passes.
Can I get the spousal benefit and my own SS too?
No! You get the higher of the two.
Can you receive spousal benefits if you are divorced?
If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record (even if you have remarried) if:
- Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
- Your ex-spouse is unmarried;
- Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older;
- The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on their own work is less than the benefit they would receive based on your work; and
- You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits
The ex-spouse can draw spousal benefits even if the former spouse is not collecting his SS benefits at the time but is of age to do so.
Do you pay taxes on SS benefits?
You may owe taxes on SS based on your other income.
|Individual:|||$25,000 to $34,000|||You pay tax on 50% of your SS benefit|
|Individual:|||Greater than $34,000|||You pay tax on 85% of your SS benefit|
|Joint:|||$32,000 to $44,000|||You pay tax on 50% of your SS benefit|
|Joint:|||Greater than $44,000|||You pay tax on 85% of your SS benefit|
How do I get a history of how much I have paid in to SS?
Can I earn income after I start collecting SS?
If you start collecting at your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you like without losing any of your SS benefits? If you start collecting SS before your full retirement age, see below.
In 2017, the annual earnings limit is $16,920 if you’re under full retirement age. If you will reach full retirement age in 2017, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $44,880. Any earnings above the limit, $1 is deducted from your SS for each $2 you earn above the limit.
When and how do I sign up for Social Security?
You should sign up for Social Security no more than four months before you intend to draw SS. You can sign up at www.ssa.gov or go to a local office.
What is the salary limit on which you can pay SS?
It is limited to no more than $127,200 of your salary.
If I draw a pension on which no SS was paid (Like TRS), will that affect my SS benefit?
Spousal: SS will take two-thirds of your TRS benefit and subtract that from your spousal benefit. Most long-time teachers get no spousal benefit.
Your Social Security: For most teachers, your social security will be reduced by around 50%. You can calculate exactly how much it will be decreased by following the calculator instructions at the top of this page.