Why You Need To Supplement Your Social Security Benefits
First off, Social Security was intended to be a supplement to people’s retirement savings. The National Institute on Retirement Security describes retirement income as a ‘three-legged stool’, consisting of Social Security, a pension plan, and individual retirement savings through accounts like a 401 or an individual retirement account.
However, since the 1980s, fewer and fewer companies have been offering pension plans to their employees. The onus for saving for retirement has fallen on the employee.
And most people aren’t doing great when it comes to saving for the future: A 2020 NIRS study found that 40% of Americans rely on Social Security as their sole source of retirement income. The average annual Social Security benefit for a worker is nearly $20,000, hardly enough money for most retirees to subsist on.
When it comes to saving for retirement, it’s important to start as early as you can, whether that’s through an employer-sponsored 401 or a traditional or Roth IRA. By saving for retirement early in life, you’ll reap the benefits of compound interest, which is interest earned on interest.
For example, if you started saving for retirement when you’re 25 and had investments yielding a more conservative 6% return, you would need to invest $530 per month for 40 years to reach $1 million. If you waited until you were 40 and had investments yielding a 6% return, you would need to invest $1,500 per month for 25 years to end up with $1 million.
Minimum Social Security Benefit Summary
Heres the bottom line:
Social Securitys special minimum benefit is an alternative benefit formula that increases benefits paid toworkers who had low earnings for many years, and to their dependents and survivors.
The special minimum benefit is based on the number of years a person has worked with earnings at orabove a certain threshold.
The regular Social Security benefit formula is based on a workers average lifetime earnings.
Read Also: State Of Nebraska Retirement Benefits
Benefits Of Raising The Retirement Age
Strengthens Social Security
The program would be more sustainable over the next several generations by slowing Social Securitys growing costs. How much the cost growth would be moderated would depend on the specifics of how fast and how high to raise the retirement age.
Compensates for increased longevity
Older workers would gain more time to build their retirement savings while still enjoying a long period of retirement. The fact that increased longevity is among the causes of Social Securitys financial problems suggests that raising the retirement age should be part of the solution.
Preserves the current benefit formula
Future retirees would receive the same benefits as current retirees but they would begin at a later age to reflect Americans increasing lifespans. This would preserve the current Social Security benefit formula, which has been in place for more than 30 years and has successfully balanced the competing interests of many demographic groups that receive Social Security benefits.
Increases labor force participation
Through improvements in health care, larger numbers of older workers could stay in the workforce and raise total U.S. economic output.
Preserves intergenerational equity
You May Like: Find My 401k With Social Security Number
How To Calculate Non
Is there a minimum social security payment for a spouse who does not qualify for the benefits? Apparently, yes. However, it is not in form of death benefit because it is received while the other qualified spouse is still alive.
Usually, the benefit to the non-working spouse is half the social security amount for the working spouse. It is also dependent on when the spouse claims the benefits. For example, claiming them early- say at 62 years- the benefits may drop to as low as one-third of the other spouses social security benefits. Why? It is because benefits to non-working spouse are reduced by 8.33% each year if claimed before the legal retirement age.
Minimum Social Security Benefit
Social Security benefits can play an important part in your retirement plan. Understanding how those benefits are calculated can help you to determine when to take Social Security and how much you might receive. The minimum Social Security benefit calculation was developed to help certain low-income workers boost their benefit amount. This calculation looks at years of coverage in place of someones earnings to estimate how much they might receive from Social Security. For 2022, the special minimum benefit starts at $45.50 for someone with 11 years of coverage and goes to $950.80 for workers with 30 years of coverage.
A financial advisor can help you plan your retirement taking into account your Social Security benefits. Find one with SmartAssets free financial advisor matching service.
You May Like: North Carolina Social Security Office
Does My Wife Get Social Security If She Never Worked
Even if you have never worked on Social Security, your spouse may be eligible for benefits if you are at least 62 years old and you are receiving retirement or disability benefits. Your spouse may also be eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Is the housewife entitled to Social Security? Even if a housewife has never contributed anything to Social Security in her life, if her spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits, she is entitled to Spouse Social Security benefit when she reaches full retirement age. Your benefit amount is half of your spouses benefit.
What Is The Average Social Security Benefit At Age 62
According to the Social Security Administration , if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. By claiming at the age of 62, a hypothetical $1000 retirement benefit would be reduced by 25% and you would only receive $750 per month. A $500 monthly spousal benefit would be reduced to $350.
The greater the gap between age 62 and FRA, the higher the percentage of reduction in retirement benefits. For those born in 1960 or later, retirement benefits are reduced by 30% and spousal benefits are reduced by 35%. This means a $1000 retirement benefit would be reduced to $700 per month.
According to the SSAs 2021 Annual Statistical Supplement, the monthly benefit amount for retired workers claiming benefits at age 62 earning the average wage was $1,480 per month for the worker alone. The benefit amount for workers with spouses claiming benefits was $2,170 at age 62.
Take Our Poll: Are You Struggling To Keep Up With Your Utility Bills?
Although claiming before FRA allows you to collect retirement benefits for a longer period of time, your benefit amount will be significantly reduced. The SSA says that if you delay your benefits until after FRA, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit.
More From GOBankingRates
Also Check: Lawyers Specializing In Social Security Benefits
You May Like: Social Security Earnings Limit 2021
The Minimum Social Security Benefit At Age 62
Remember that retired workers will see a decrease in their benefit amount if they decide to start their benefits early. The same applies to the special minimum benefit. So, what is the minimum Social Security benefit at 62? We already learned that some workers with only 11 years of coverage would receive a monthly payment of less than $50. However, this assumes that the worker starts receiving benefits upon reaching full retirement age. Those who begin their benefits at age 62 will see a 30% reduction in their benefit payments.
This reduction applies to all those who take Social Security early including both normal retirement benefits and the special minimum PIA. So, assume that your PIA would be the full special minimum of $1,033.50. If you start receiving your benefits at age 62, you will see a 30% reduction and end up with a benefit amount of only $723.45.
The same applies to the other end of the spectrum. Assume you only have 11 years of coverage and will receive the minimum benefit of $49.40. Starting your benefits at age 62 means you would only see a monthly payment of $34.58. As you can see, this amount would be well below the poverty level, so you would need some additional sources of retirement income to make ends meet. If you are on Medicare, then your Part B premium would take your entire Social Security check plus additional money.
Calculating Social Security Benefits
Like a lot of people, you would like to know your minimum social security payment at 62 or any other retirement age. Your benefits are calculated off your average wage and based on a predetermined formulation over a span of your highest 35 years of working income. Again, there will be inflation adjustments. It is also worth noting that the years you are not earning, social security will make zero entries. Remember, when you claim your benefits earlier, you end up getting less benefit amount in the long haul.
Recommended Reading: Does Workers’ Comp Affect Social Security Retirement Benefits
How Social Security Is Calculated
After eligibility determination, Social Security calculates your monthly average earnings via the 35 years in which your taxable wages were highest, although these amounts are adjusted for inflation. If you did not work for a total of 35 years, Social Security enters zero for the years you did not receive wages. For example, if you worked for 30 years, Social Security would enter zero for five years when making calculations.
Making The Most Of Benefits
Make the most of your Social Security benefits by waiting as long as possible to claim them. People taking benefits before their full retirement age receive a lesser amount than they would have had they waited until qualifying for full retirement.
Wait until age 70 to take benefits, and you will receive benefits 32 percent higher than had you taken them at full retirement age.
Average Social Security Check By Type
While most people think of Social Security as a program just for retirees, it serves many other groups, including the disabled, spouses and minor children of retirees as well as the spouses and minor children of deceased workers. The amount that each group receives differs substantially.
In fact, the average retired worker receives $1,676.53 each month about 8 percent more than Social Security recipients as a whole. Heres how the figures break down by recipient, as of October 2022.
|Type of beneficiary|
Read Also: How Do Social Security Benefits Work
What If I Delay Taking My Benefits
If you retire sometime between your full retirement age and age 70, you typically earn a “delayed retirement” credit for your own benefits . For example, say you were born in 1960, and your full retirement age is 67. If you start your benefits at age 69, you would receive a credit of 8% per year multiplied by two . This means your benefit would be 16% higher than the amount you would have received at age 67.
Read Also: Social Security Blue Book For Disabilities
What If Your Earnings Are Falling Short
If youre earning enough to reach the maximum benefit amount, thats fantastic. But the average worker will struggle to reach the income limits, and not everyone can afford to work 35 years before claiming.
The good news is that if youre willing and able to delay benefits past age 62, you can earn closer to the maximum benefit amount.
Say, for example, you have an FRA of 67 years old, and by claiming at that age, you could receive $1,600 per month. If you were to claim early at 62, your benefits would be reduced by 30%, leaving you with $1,120 per month. But if you delay benefits until age 70, youd receive your full benefit amount plus an extra 24%, or $1,984 per month.
Not everyone will be able to wait until age 70 to file for benefits. But if youre unable to reach the maximum benefit amount, delaying Social Security is one of the best and easiest ways to boost your benefits.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Start Small But Early
One of the most important steps in saving for retirement is to start ASAP. Even if there is short-term pain, such as student loans, credit card debt or a mortgage, you need to think long-term, said Yanelys Benham, wealth management advisor with TIAA. If you dont, your money wont have as much time to grow.
Benham shared this example: Lets say you have two women who both turned 65 last year. The first one started saving just $100 a month thats only $25 a week when she was 25. That was back in 1981. The other woman decided to wait only 10 more years, until she was 35. That was in 1991. But at that point, she started saving twice as much each year. Instead of $100 a month, she started saving $200.
If they both put their money into the S& P 500, then at the end of 2021, the woman who started investing when she was 25 would now have almost $450,000. The woman who waited an extra 10 years would now have less than $330,000, even though she invested twice as much money once she started saving.
Take Our Poll: How Do You Typically Split the Restaurant Bill?
Read Also: Social Security Office Davenport Ia
The Answer Is Technically Yes
Social Security helps tens of millions of retirees get income after the end of their careers, and the program’s beneficial impact on poverty rates among the elderly has been noteworthy. By itself, the average monthly retirement benefit of around $1,400 is enough to keep income above the poverty level for a single retiree, and it comes just shy of the poverty level for a household with two people. Given how a large percentage of Social Security recipients rely on the benefits the program provides for the vast majority of their total income, Social Security’s impact continues to be vital in fighting poverty.
However, not everyone gets that $1,400 average monthly benefit, and some believe that the federal government can do more to ensure that everyone stays out of poverty in retirement. Much of that discussion centers on Social Security’s minimum benefit provision — a feature that has lost almost all of its power over the years but that could make a comeback if some lawmakers have their way.
Image source: Getty Images.
How Much Does Social Security Pay At 65
The amount Social Security pays older adults partly depends on the wages a senior earned while working. The amount you get each month is also influenced by the age when you first sign up for retirement benefits. As a rule, your benefits get closer to the federal award cap the more youve earned from work and the later you sign up for a Social Security pension.
Recommended Reading: Social Security Office In Durham Nc
How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated
For most people, Social Security benefits are calculated based on lifetime earnings. Earnings are adjusted to account for increases or decreases in average wages since the year your earnings were received. The Social Security Administration then calculates your average indexed monthly earnings for the 35 years of your work history in which you earned the most. If you have fewer than 35 years of work history, a 0 is entered in for any missing year, which brings down your overall average.
Your average earnings are used to determine your primary insurance amount for Social Security retirement benefits. This number represents the amount youd receive each month from Social Security once you reach full retirement age, which is dependent on the year you were born. The full retirement age for people born after 1960 is 67 years old, as of 2022, though for people born before 1960 it may be 66 instead.
You have to earn at least 40 Social Security credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. These credits are earned as you work and pay Social Security taxes from your income. That includes income from working for an employer or money made through self-employment. If you dont earn enough Social Security credits then you may not be eligible to receive Social Security retirements benefits though you could still qualify for SSI benefits.
Can You Get Social Security Benefits Without Working
The only people who can legally receive benefits without paying Social Security are the family members of the workers who did. Non-working spouses, ex-spouses, children, or parents may be eligible for spouse, survivor, or child benefits based on the skilled workers earnings record.
What happens if you dont have enough credits for Social Security?
If you dont have the 40 credits, you wont withdraw any pensions. You cannot borrow or buy credits from another worker, nor can you earn retirement benefits contingent on future earnings and credits.
Who typically Cannot receive Social Security?
About 4 percent of the elderly population never receive Social Security benefits. These never-beneficiaries include higher proportions of women, Hispanics, immigrants, the never-married, and widowers than the beneficiary population never-beneficiaries are also comparatively less educated.
You May Like: What Are The 3 Main Types Of Social Security Benefits
Read Also: Social Security Office Middletown Ohio
Raising Social Securitys Retirement Age
44 million retired workers and dependents
6 million survivors of deceased workers
11 million disabled workers and dependents
$869 billion from payroll taxes and other income
$88 billion in interest earnings
Trust fund assets:
Projected trust fund depletion date:
Social Security is one of our nations most successful programs but faces long-term financial issues as its costs are growing faster than its revenues. While there are many positive aspects to Americans living longer, that trend also increases costs to Social Security as the wave of baby boomers retires over the next 20 years.
Social Security is primarily a pay-as-you-go system where each generation of retirees is funded by current workers, who expect to receive their own benefits after retiring. The more people contribute into Social Security, the more revenue the program has to make benefit payments.