Ins & Out of Social Security
How Do I Get My Money Out of Social Security?
As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you are building “credits” in the program. You’ll have to work at least 10 years to build up the 40 credits generally necessary to become eligible for retirement benefits. The Social Security Administration increases the amount of money it takes to earn one credit annually. This year, for example, you will earn one credit for each $1,640 in earnings, up to a maximum of four credits.
The benefits you eventually receive from social security is based on your highest 35 years of earnings. So generally, working longer can replace lower-earning years and thus increase your benefits. If you have years in which you had no social security earnings, working longer can help turn those “zero years” into years with earnings.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn?
That depends on when you choose to start receiving benefits and your income (over those highest 35 years of earnings). You can begin taking benefits at age 62, although they will be reduced a half percent for each month you begin before your full retirement age. If you choose to postpone benefits until your full retirement age or beyond, your benefits will increase. According to the Social Security Administration, the maximum monthly social security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age in 2019 is $2,861.
What Exactly Does “Full Retirement Age” Mean?
Full retirement age is the age at which you can receive your full retirement benefits. You can begin to receive your full retirement benefit between ages 66 and 67, depending on when you were born. Taking benefits before this date will result in lower benefits; waiting longer will help your benefits grow.
Social Security planning is a key part to the FERS retirement system. You may be eligible to receive benefits at 62 but it may be in your best interest to delay benefits to maximize Social Security for yourself and your family. Sign up today for Social Security Timing Report to help ensure you will have the income you need in retirement.