Social Security Retirement Benefits

A significant step toward retirement is beginning to receive Social Security retirement benefits. When you're ready to apply for retirement benefits, this article will walk you through the procedure.

What is Social Security Retirement Benefits ?

Every American worker's retirement plan includes Social Security. It offers qualified retirees and their families replacement income. On their earnings, American workers pay Social Security taxes. They are qualified to receive benefits if they have contributed enough to the system by accumulating 40 work credits before retiring.

As early as age 62, you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits. When you reach full retirement age, however, you are eligible for all benefits. Your benefit amount will increase if you wait until you are 70 years old before claiming your benefits. For every month before your full retirement age that you begin receiving benefits, your benefits will be cut by a modest percentage.

Whether you choose to accept Social Security early or defer it until you reach full retirement age will affect the amount of benefits you get. The complete retirement age for those who were born in 1943 through 1954 is 66. However, for people who were born in 1960 or after, the full retirement age steadily rises each year until it reaches age 67.

As long as their income is below the income threshold, people can elect to receive Social Security payments even if they haven't reached full retirement age. For income exceeding the 2023 or 2024 income ceilings, $1 in Social Security will be deducted for every $2 earned.

Social Security typically provides retired beneficiaries with a percentage of their pre-retirement income. Knowing the approximate amount of Social Security payments you will receive might help you construct your retirement plan by letting you know how much more retirement income you'll need to achieve your objectives.

Key Facts Retirement Benefits

  • In America, Social Security benefits are a significant source of income for retirees.
  • You can work as much as you like after reaching full retirement age and still be eligible for your full Social Security payments.
  • If you are 62 years of age or older and under the full retirement age, $1 will be deducted for every $2 you earn over the annual income cap.
  • When you reach full retirement age, the barrier is greater and just $1 out of every $3 is withheld.
  • When you reach full retirement age, Social Security will repay the money that was withheld.
  • When choosing when to begin receiving benefits, considering past income and age may be necessary to maximize benefits.
  • Benefits from Social Security may be taxed, particularly if you continue to work while receiving them.

How Social Security Retirement Benefits Works ?

Social Security replaces a percentage of your pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. Depending on how much you earn and when you decide to begin receiving benefits, Social Security replaces a different percentage of your pre-retirement wages depending on your highest 35 years of earnings.

You contribute taxes to Social Security when you work. They use the tax money to pay benefits to:
  • People who have already retired.
  • People who are disabled.
  • Survivors of deceased employees.
  • Dependents of beneficiaries.
You cannot use the tax money you pay to receive benefits from a personal account. SSA use your taxes to pay people who are getting benefits right now. Any unused money goes to the Social Security trust fund that provides monthly payments to you and your family when you start collecting retirement benefits.

Who is Eligible for Social Security Retirement Benefits ?

You accrue "credits" toward Social Security benefits when you work and pay Social Security taxes. The amount of credits you need to earn retirement benefits depends on when you were born. If you were born in 1929 or later, you need 40 credits (usually, this is 10 years of work).

Once you’ve accumulated 40 credits (from around 10 years of employment), you’re fully insured and qualified to receive social security retirement benefits.

If you stop working before you have enough credits to qualify for benefits, the credits will remain on your Social Security record. You might earn additional credits if you come back to work later. Retirement benefits from the SSA cannot be paid until you have 40 credits.

For additional details visit web-page how Social Security Credits work.

Verify Your Earnings History

Your record of earnings will determine how much in Social Security benefits you or your family will receive. When the time comes for you to begin receiving benefits, regularly reviewing your Social Security earnings history can help to prevent unpleasant surprises. With a personal my Social Security account, you may view your earnings history. To examine your online earnings history, register right away.

Age Requirement for Social Security Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits from Social Security are dependent on age. Here is a quick summary of the ages you need to be aware of.

Social Security retirement benefits are available to workers who are at least 62 years old and who have worked a minimum of ten years in a row at jobs for which they paid Social Security taxes. Based on a spouse's or ex-economic spouse's history, spouses, widows, and divorcees are frequently eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Children who are 18 or younger who are not married (or 19 if a student) are also eligible for survivor's benefits. To get benefits, you must be a citizen of the United States or a permitted alien.
You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. Depending on the year you were born, the full retirement age is between 66 and 67. Your retirement age rises as you get older. You are free to work as much as you like after reaching full retirement age without it having any effect on your Social Security Retirement Benefits.

Working while getting benefits is not possible until you are 62 because you can't start receiving Social Security retirement benefits until that age. The amount of benefits you receive will decrease the younger you are when you begin receiving them.

The more you keep the longer you wait, and the greater your checks will be if you wait until after reaching full retirement age.

The amount of your monthly payments depends on when you start collecting your retirement benefits. Whether considering when to start receiving benefits, there are three crucial aspects to keep in mind regarding age.

1) Full Retirement Age :
The age at which you can begin earning your entire retirement benefit is known as full retirement age. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you can retire at the full age of 66. If you were born between 1955 and 1960, the full retirement age steadily rises until it reaches 67. Full retirement benefits begin to accrue for people born in 1960 or later at age 67. The full retirement age chart allows you to search for your full retirement age by birth year.

2) Early Retirement Age :
Social Security retirement payments are available as early as age 62. If you begin receiving benefits before reaching full retirement age, the SSA will cut your benefit. Learn more about how early retirement benefit claims will effect your benefit amount by visiting the website.

3) Delayed Retirement Age :
The amount of your retirement benefit will grow if you postpone taking it until after you reach (delay benefits) full retirement age till age 70. After the age of 70, there is no incentive to put off filing.

Retirement Age Calculator

To qualify for unreduced Social Security retirement benefits, you must be at least full retirement age. Depending on the year you were born, you will achieve full retirement age in a particular year and month.

By selecting your birth year in the calculator or using the retirement age chart, you can determine your full retirement age.

How to Decide When To Start Retirement Benefits ?

Choosing when to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal decision. If you choose to retire and begin receiving benefits when you reach your full retirement age, you’ll receive your full benefit amount. SSA will reduce your benefit amount if you decide to start benefits before reaching full retirement age.

How to Earn Credits for Retirement Benefits ?

Although the purpose of Social Security is to provide a steady income once you retire, you must first contribute to the program by accumulating credits. To acquire one credit in 2023, you must earn $1,640, and to receive all four credits, you must earn $6,560.

The previous requirement was $1,470 for one credit or $5,880 for all four credits in 2022. For those who were born in 1928 or later, receiving full retirement benefits requires 40 credits, which is equal to 10 years of earning the required amount. That may be a simple objective to accomplish for many people.

Before choosing to get benefits while still employed, get in touch with the Social Security Administration and inquire about your credit balance. Consider working a few more years if you haven't completed your 40 credits by the time you are 62. Unless you are also eligible for other benefits, you cannot get Social Security retirement benefits if you lack the necessary credits.

What Else Affects Retirement Benefits ?

Every retirement is different. In addition to choosing when to start receiving retirement benefits, additional variables that may impact your benefits include whether you continue to work, the nature of your previous employment, and whether you have pensions from particular jobs.

1) Continually Working :
You have the option to continue working after reaching full retirement age. Your potential future Social Security benefits could be increased if you do. Your Social Security record is expanded by one year for every additional year you work. When you choose to take benefits, higher lifetime earnings may translate into larger benefits.

2) Particular Types Of Earnings :
While the majority of American workers' Social Security earnings are computed in the same method, some types of earnings are subject to additional regulations. The following sorts of earnings have unique rules:
  • Farming Work
  • Federal Government Employment
  • Household Employment
  • Military Service
  • Nonprofit Or Religious Organizations
  • Railroad Income
  • Self-Employment
  • State And Local Government Employment Wages
  • Work Outside of America

3) Pensions And Additional Factors :
Your retirement benefit may be impacted by taxes and pensions. Review the following resources on pensions and other things to think about :

Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP): This rule may reduce your retirement benefits if you have a pension from a job for which you didn't pay Social Security taxes.

Government Pension Offset (GPO): If you receive a pension from a government employment for which you did not pay Social Security taxes, this regulation will have an impact on your benefits as a spouse, widow, or widower.

Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefits: In some circumstances, you might be required to pay federal income taxes on your Social Security benefits.

Estimate Your Social Security Retirement Benefits

Compare retirement benefit estimates for the ages of 62, Full Retirement Age (FRA), and 70 with estimates for retirement benefits depending on the date or age you chose to start receiving benefits. For the estimate, you can also enter estimated future income.

Planning for retirement is much easier when you know how much money you will receive each month in retirement benefits. You can estimate your unique retirement benefits and examine the implications of various retirement age scenarios if you have a personal my Social Security account. Create a personal My Social Security account at if you don't already have one.

Social Security Retirement Benefits Calculator

Making a my Social Security account online is the ideal way to get started with your future preparation. You may check your wages, access your Social Security Statement, and much more with my Social Security, all from the convenience of your home or workplace.
The calculator provides an estimate of your Social Security benefits, based on your earnings history and age. It can also tell you how your retirement earnings will be affected if you keep working after you claim your Social Security benefit.

SSA offers a number of calculators to help you meet your current needs or make plans for the future.

These programs can be accurate but need access to the database that has your official earnings record. The quickest method to accomplish that is by opening a my Social Security account or login in to one you already have. The alternative is to respond to a series of inquiries to establish your identity.

How Much is the Maximum Social Security Retirement Benefit ?

The maximum Social Security retirement benefit that you are eligible for varies depending on a number of criteria, including your earning history and the age at which you start collecting benefits.

Monthly Retirement Benefits

The monthly payout will vary depending on the individual's circumstances, such as whether they are a married couple in retirement, a widow, or a parent of young children. The maximum monthly benefit in 2023 is $3,627 for someone who files at full retirement age (FRA), which is age 66. However, the maximum payout for individuals who are eligible and wait until they are 70 years old is $4,555.

Average Social Security Benefits by Age 2023-24

Compared to the maximum, the typical Social Security retirement benefit is much less. According to an annual report released by the SSA, the average benefit for people who began receiving at FRA looked like this at various ages.

Average Social Security Benefit by Age 2024












































































90 or older



How to Calculate Social Security Retirement Benefit ?

The first requirement for Social Security is 40 work credits, or roughly ten years of employment.

You must generate the maximum taxable income under Social Security for 35 years in order to be qualified for the maximum payout.

Your 35 highest-earning years are added together to determine your Social Security payments. To begin with, all salaries are indexed to reflect inflation. In accordance with the years in which they were paid, wages from prior years are multiplied. Based on the current value of the dollar, this computation provides a sum that is roughly equivalent to buying power.

Your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are calculated once all wages have been indexed by dividing the total by 420. (35 years expressed as months). For years you did not work if you worked for fewer than 35 years, a zero is entered. The benefit amount is then determined by a number of variables, such as the year collection starts, whether you've attained FRA, and whether you're still working while receiving benefits.

If you have 40 work credits, you can apply for Social Security as early as age 62, but the benefit will be significantly larger if you wait until FRA. If you wait until your FRA to file for benefits, you will get all of them. You receive an 8% bonus for each year you postponed claiming if you file your claim at age 70 as opposed to FRA.

What Documents Need to Apply for Retirement Benefits ?

SSA may ask for various documentation based on your situation. These documents consist of :
  • Either a record of your number or your social security card.
  • Your genuine birth certificate, a replica that has been verified by the issuing agency, or another form of age verification.
  • Proof of citizenship or legal alien status if you were not born in the United States.
  • If you served in the military before 1968, a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s). Acceptable is a photocopy.
  • A copy of your most recent self-employment tax return and/or W-2 forms. Acceptable is a photocopy.
Do not put off filing for Social Security retirement benefits even if you lack everything. The missing documentation can be supplied at a later time. Many times, your local Social Security office can do a free online check of your information with your state's Bureau of Vital Statistics or find alternative means to obtain the data they require.

How to Apply for the Social Security Retirement Benefits ?

The simplest way to submit your application at a time that suits you and avoid a trip to the Social Security office is online. You can also apply by phone or at a Social Security office. You will learn about the available alternatives in this section.

1) Apply Online :

To apply online, follow these steps :
  • Visit the Apply for Benefits page, read the Terms of Service, and then begin your online application, Press "Next."
  • Check the "Getting Ready" section on that page to make sure you have the data you need to apply.
  • "Start A New Application" should be chosen.
  • The Social Security Administration will inquire about the applicant's background.
  • After that, you will be asked to create a new Social Security account or sign into an existing one.
  • Fill out the form completely.

2) Apply With Your Local Social Security Office :

The majority of your interactions with Social Security can be done online. Your local Social Security office can assist you with the application if you are unable to use these online services. Our personnel are helping people over the phone even while our offices are locked to the public. Using our Field Office Locator, browse under Social Security Office Information to get the phone number for your local office. Your local office can be reached using the toll-free "Office" number.

3) Apply By Phone :

Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone.

4) If you reside outside of the United States or one of its territories :

If you reside outside of the United States or a U.S. territory and wish to apply for retirement benefits, get in touch with the Federal Benefits Unit for your country of residence.

After You Have Apply

The Social Security Administration will analyze your application once you submit it and get in touch with you if more information is needed. If it has all the required paperwork, the SSA will process your application and mail you a letter outlining its final decision.

Check The Status

You can use your own my Social Security account to check the status of your application online. You can call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to check your status if you're unable to do so online.

Look For SSA's Response

A letter containing the SSA's determination will be mailed to you. They inform you if other family members may be eligible for benefits from your application if you provided information about them when you applied.

Appeal A Decision

You have the right to challenge any decision the SSA makes regarding your eligibility for benefits. Within 60 days of receiving the decision, you must submit an appeal request in writing. Four levels of appeal exist :
  • Reconsideration by Social Security staff.
  • A hearing before an administrative law judge.
  • A review by Social Security’s Appeals Council.
  • A review by the federal courts.

Withdraw Your Application

Life changes occasionally take place after you submit your application. If you change your mind, you have up to 12 months to withdraw your application. Any benefits you have previously received must be repaid. Find out more information on withdrawing your Social Security retirement application.

Social Security Retirement Benefits Contact

Call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 if you need assistance or have questions, or visit your local Social Security office. Call 1-800-325-0778 if you have hearing loss or are deaf. and 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Early Can I Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits?
To qualify for benefits, you must be at least 62 years old for the entire month. You fulfill this requirement in the month of your 62nd birthday if your birthday falls on the first or second of the month. If you were born on a non-monthly day, you won't be eligible until the following month.
Up to four months prior to when you want your retirement benefits to begin, you can apply. For instance, if your 62nd birthday falls on December 2, you can begin receiving benefits in December. You can apply in August if you want your benefits to start in December. You are not considered to be 62 for the entire month of December if you turn 62 on any day after December 2. The month after the month in which Social Security benefits are due is when they are paid. If you are entitled to benefits for the month of December, your first check will arrive in January.

What is the maximum amount I can make while receiving Social Security retirement benefits?
You can make as much money as you like while receiving Social Security, but if you make too much money, it may result in additional taxes or have other negative effects on the amount of your benefit. Your benefits won't change until you make up to $19,560 in 2022.

What month can you start collecting Social Security?
Social Security benefits can be accessed in the first full month after turning 62. If your birthday falls on the 15th, you won't be able to begin receiving benefits until the month following your 62nd birthday. You can begin receiving benefits if your birthday falls on the first or second of the month.

What are the steps to begin receiving Social Security benefits?
You can submit an online application to begin receiving Social Security payments. Up to four months before you intend to begin receiving benefits, you can complete the application. Bring your personal information and identification documents, such as evidence of citizenship, age verification, and direct deposit information.

When can I get Social Security retirement benefits?
As early as age 62, you can start receiving Social Security retirement payments. However, the Social Security Administration will reduce your benefits by as much as 30% from what you would receive if you waited to start receiving benefits until you reached full retirement age. You will receive your entire benefit if you wait until you reach full retirement age. You can postpone receiving benefits until you are 70 years old. Then, because you accrued "delayed retirement credits," the SSA will raise your benefit.

What is full retirement age (FRA)?
The age at which you are qualified to receive full Social Security retirement benefits (FRA) is determined by the year you were born. For people born in 1955, the FRA is 66 years and 2 months, and it gradually rises to 67 for people born in 1960 and beyond.

What are delayed retirement credits?
You will receive credits for every month you postpone your Social Security retirement benefits collection past your FRA up to age 70 if you do so. Your monthly payment may go up by 8% annually as a result of these credits.

Does Social Security consider the previous five years of employment?
No, Social Security benefits take into account the age at which you begin collecting benefits and are calculated based on your 35 highest-paid inflation-adjusted years.

How can my monthly retirement benefits be increased?
Your benefit amount will rise every month until you become 70 if you can wait until after reaching full retirement age to start receiving benefits.

How will my retirement benefits be taxed?
A third of those who receive Social Security benefits are subject to income tax on these payments. The taxation thresholds for your benefits are currently not inflation-indexed. Individuals with higher total earnings are required to include up to 85% of their benefits as income for federal income tax purposes, which is determined by unique step-rate "thresholds".

Are You Refunded the Money?
When you reach full retirement age, you will receive your money back. Social Security then recalculates your payment and credits you for the months that your benefits were withheld. However, keep in mind that if you started receiving benefits before reaching full retirement age, your payment will be smaller than it would have been if you had waited.

What are the steps for applying for Social Security retirement benefits?
Visit your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office, submit an application online at, or call 1-800-772-1213 when you're ready to claim benefits.