If you work, you pay into social security. These payments are intended to be there for you as retirement benefits when you reach a certain age, and many retired workers depend on a certain amount each month. You can check your benefit amount at any time, by creating an online account with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The account is personal to you and keeps track of your work history, how much you have paid in, and your estimated benefit amount at certain retirement ages.
The estimated amount can change over time though, and if you are counting on a certain amount of money each month, it is important to know how your benefit can be reduced. Here are the most common reasons for receiving a reduced social security payment:
- Taking your benefits before full retirement age.
- Your earnings decreased prior to retirement.
- You had funds withheld for Medicare or the Medicare premiums increased.
- Your tax bracket changed.
- Going back to work after you start taking benefits.
We all need a healthy retirement fund, with enough money to pay the bills when we are no longer working. If you are relying on social security for an income stream in your retirement years you will want to do everything you can to make sure you get the most out of your social security benefits. Some ways to increase what you get include waiting until the latest age benefits are possible before making withdrawals. The amount you get is determined by the 35 years of your highest earning level. So if you have some years where you earned less, you can still maximize benefits by making a higher salary for part of your working life. If there are some years where you did not work, a zero will be entered and this can reduce your overall benefit. It is important to check your account regularly for errors, and if one is found, report it to the SSA. You will need documentation to support any error you find, so be prepared to provide evidence backing up your claim. For help, call our office.
If you have questions about how social security benefits are determined and when you can take your benefits without decreasing your payment amount, call us today. We can be contacted online or by phone at 855-727-6353.