These pages help those not familiar with the benefits of Social Security better understand those benefits. You can also learn how and when to apply for benefits and the amount you should be receiving depending on your age and when you decide to apply. Information is also included on receiving Social Security benefits and continuing to work, as well as contact information to reach the Social Security Administration directly by both phone and Internet.
Social Security recipients will receive 1.7 percent bigger payments in 2015, due to the annual cost-of-living adjustment. Most workers will continue to pay 6.2 percent of their earnings into the Social Security system, but the maximum taxable earnings amount will increase in 2015 year from $117,000 in 2014 to $118,500 in 2015. The Social Security administration will also mail Social Security statements to workers turning ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 in 2015 who have not created an online account.
Government site where you can enter your information to see your estimated benefits before you claim
The age you claim Social Security affects your lifetime income. This site will help you think through this decision. You can explore how your claiming age affects your Social Security retirement benefits. You can enter your date of birth and highest annual work income and the site will show you your estimated benefits on a year to year payout basis plus total benefits depending in how long you live.Go to http://www.consumerfinance.gov/retirement/before-you-claim/
Take this Social Security Quiz
Edited from an article by Mark Miller
Here are the questions:
1. At what age can you receive your full benefit?
2. Can you keep working while collecting a full benefit?
3. If you are divorced, can you collect a benefit based on your ex-spouse's earning history?
4. Can you receive a benefit even if you are not a U.S. citizen?
The findings are disturbing. Ninety percent of Americans over age 65 receive Social Security benefits, and, for 65 percent, the program provides more than half of total income, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance. For 36 percent, Social Security is the entire retirement income ballgame.
Here are the answers:
Full Benefit Age
Some 71 percent of respondents think 65 is still the full retirement age for Social Security. But it is 66 for today's retirees and will be 67 for people retiring in 2022.
Working While Receiving Benefits
People believe they can continue to work while collecting a full Social Security retirement benefit. But that is true only if you have reached your full retirement age. In 2015 an early Social Security filer with income of more than $15,720 from work (employment or self-employment) will pay a penalty. One dollar will be deducted from benefit payments for every $2 earned above that limit.
Collect from an Ex-Spouse
It is possible to claim a benefit on the record of an ex-spouse. It does not matter if your ex-spouse has remarried.This can boost benefits dramatically, since spousal and survivor benefits are among the most valuable features of Social Security.You can claim half of an ex-spouse's benefit if you are at full retirement age (currently 66), had been married for at least 10 years, and if that benefit works out to be higher than your own. You are entitled to 100 percent of a deceased ex-spouse's benefit.
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It is not necessary to be an American citizen to receive Social Security retirement benefits. But the main eligibility requirement to receive benefits is paying into the system. You must have contributed payroll taxes for a cumulative total of at least 40 quarters (10 years). Along with citizens, individuals who are "lawfully present" in the United States, including permanent residents, refugees and asylum seekers, are eligible for benefits.
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