The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of administering an overseeing several benefit programs. One of the most well-known programs under the authority of the SSA is social security itself. Social Security is a benefit available to retired workers, and provides for a monthly payment check after a person has reached retirement age. The amount of payment depends on your work history and on how much in social security taxes you have paid in to the system over your career and there are restrictions on when you are able to take advantage of these benefits. Because of these restrictions and other issues that come up from time to time, there are a lot of questions about how social security works and what the full range of benefits provide.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about social security include:
- Where can I find out how much my estimated benefit will be when I retire? This information is available online, and you are required to set up an account to access the earnings record. Once you have a user name and password in place, tied to your social security number, you are able to access the estimated payment at any time. The figure will change as you earn more or less over your life, and it is a good idea to keep track of how much your benefit will be so you can properly plan for retirement.
- Can I get the benefits for my spouse? If you have not worked or did not pay much in and would prefer to take your spouse’s benefits, there are ways to get this done. First, you must be at least 62 or caring for your spouse’s disabled child under the age of 16.
- When can I start taking my benefits? This is perhaps the most important question because most people want to know how much longer they need to work before social security provides an income. The answer depends on when you were born, for those born prior to 1938 the full retirement age is 65. The full retirement age goes up incrementally as the year of birth increase, and if you were born after 1960 the full retirement age has been capped at 67.
- How do I apply for benefits? You can do this online or in person at a local Social Security office, or you can call the SSA and apply.
Having an income beyond your working years allows you to pay the bills without having to go to work. Many people try to supplement their social security income with other investments, and that is perfectly fine. If you are fortunate enough to work at a place where a 401(k) or other retirement plan is offered, take advantage of that plan as much as possible. The more you are able to accumulate prior to reaching retirement, the more you will have to live on after you stop working.
If you have questions about social security, contact us online for more information. We can also be reached at 855-727-6353.