A. You should receive a statement in the mail (if you are 60 or older). You can also visit http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount and create an online account. You will be able to view and print your Social Security statement.
It will include:
- estimates of retirement and disability benefits you may receive
- estimates of benefits your spouse and family may receive when your retire or die
- your lifetime earnings record according to Social Security
- the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you have paid
- the opportunity to apply online for retirement and disability benefits
Q. How do I estimate my life expectancy, and how does that have an impact on my benefits?
A. The Social Security Administration uses the following averages (based on 2013 statistics) for people in good health:
- a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until age 84
- a 65-year-old woman can expect to live, on average, until age 86
If you’d like to get a more specific estimate of your projected life expectancy based on your current age, this calculator is handy: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/population/longevity.html.
Q. Will my Social Security retirement benefits be adjusted for inflation?
A. Automatic benefit increases, also known as cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), have been in effect since 1975 to help stabilize the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Q. What is considered Full Retirement Age (FRA)?
A. Full retirement Age is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced Social Security retirement benefits. Age 65 has been the FRA for many years, however, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.
Q. When may I start collecting Social Security benefits for retirement?
A. You may apply as early as age 62.
- Your monthly benefit will vary depending on when you elect to begin receiving benefits.
- If you elect to receive benefits before your FRA, your benefit will be permanently reduced a fraction of a percent for each month you receive benefits before your FRA.
- If you wait until after your FRA, your benefit will be increased based upon the number of months you do not receive benefits between your FRA and age 70. This is called a Delayed Retirement Credit.
Q. Do I actually have to be retired to start taking my benefits?
A. No, you may elect to receive benefits as early as age 62. However, there are some specific restrictions and consequences.
Your investment in Social Security is just like any other investment — a tool to independence in retirement. If you’d like to learn how to make the best use of Social Security benefits as part of your overall retirement strategy, I can show you how. Give me a call, and we can get started.