How Much Does a Person on Social Security Make?


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When you retire and start collecting Social Security benefits, the amount of monthly income you get from the program depends on a number of factors, from the amount you earned during your career to the age at which you retire.

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Lifetime earnings related to work that resulted in you paying Social Security taxes will be the biggest factor in determining your benefits. A higher income usually means a greater benefit, but there is a limit to how much you can receive.

For those willing to research a nice round number, the average Social Security retirement benefit in May 2022 was $1,668 per month, according to the AARP. The maximum benefit, or the most that an individual retiree can get, is $3,345 per month for someone who applies for Social Security at full retirement age (FRA) in 2022. The FRA is the point at which you qualify for 100% of the benefit based on your income history and the amount of Social Security taxes you paid on the job. Only by postponing retirement past your FRA can you exceed the maximum benefit (up to 132% of your maximum benefit if you delay retirement until age 70, according to the Social Security Administration, or SSA).

Your specific full retirement age depends on when you were born. For example, the FRA is 66 years and four months for people born in 1956, then gradually increases to 67 years for people born in 1960 or later. Use the SSA’s Retirement Age Calculator to determine your FRA.

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While you won’t know exactly how much Social Security income you’ll earn until you sign up, there are ways to get a margin ahead of time. Some options include the AARP’s Social Security Benefits Calculator and your personal My Social Security account on the SSA website. The AARP calculator will ask you to provide your average annual income during your career. The SSA option provides an estimate based on your earnings record with the agency.

Both options provide estimated Social Security retirement benefits based on your earnings and when you choose to retire. The earliest age at which you can apply for pension benefits is 62 years. The latest age is 70 years. The longer you wait to claim benefits, the higher your monthly check will be.

How are Social Security benefits calculated?

Keep in mind that Social Security benefits are calculated based on the 35 highest-earning years of your career, US News reported. If you have been working for more than 35 years, your lowest-earning years will be excluded from the calculation, so that your benefit will be higher. Those who have not worked for 35 years are included in the calculation on average and receive a lower compensation.

The AARP provides the following example on its website: Suppose you were born on January 1, 1960 and had an average annual income of $50,000. As of June 2022, you would receive a monthly benefit of $1,338 if you applied for Social Security at age 62; $1,911 at full retirement age (67 in this case); or $2,370 at 70.

Another thing to keep in mind: Social Security puts a limit on how much of your income it takes into account when calculating your benefits. In 2022, the cap is $147,000 per year, although that figure changes annually to account for wage developments. Any income above that will not be included in your benefit calculation, but neither will it be subject to Social Security taxes.

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This article originally appeared on How Much Does a Social Security Person Make?

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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