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How Big Will Your Social Security Retirement Benefit Be?

In all of your investment planning for retirement, you may have forgotten to take into consideration how much money you should also be getting from Social Security. While exact numbers may change over the years as new tax laws are enacted and the national debt rises, you can still get a fairly accurate estimate of your benefits. Check out the five tips below for determining how big your Social Security benefit will be.

Understand the Formula

Social Security benefits are based on a formula that uses your highest-earning years to create an average earned income. It then factors in the age at which you are retiring, cost-of-living increases and years that you did not work. The formula also takes into account whether or not you are still earning past your retirement age.

Determine When You Want to Retire

You are allowed to claim Social Security benefits as early as the age of 62, but to receive much better benefits, you will want to wait until full retirement age, which is between the ages of 66 and 67 depending on how old you are now. Some even choose to wait until the age of 70 to receive further increased benefits of eight percent per year past the age of retirement.

Consider How Many Years You Worked

Social Security benefits are based on your 35 highest paid years of work. If you did not work for at least 35 years due to caring for a family member, Social Security will factor in a zero for those years. If you did not work due to a disability, you should check with a Social Security disability attorney who may be able to help you collect higher benefits.

Check Out the Retirement Estimator

The Social Security Administration offers its own retirement calculator on its website to give you a more accurate benefit outlook. You will need your personal information, including Social Security number, as well as an estimate of how much you earned last year. It will then give you numbers based on the age at which you plan to retire.

Take Out Medicare Premiums

Nearly all individuals have their Medicare premiums taken out of their Social Security benefits, which will decrease your benefit amount by less than $200. However, by law, Medicare payment amounts are not allowed to rise at a faster rate than Social Security cost-of-living increases are.

If you are married, it is particularly important to create a strategy for claiming benefits. This is because you may be able to claim some or all of your spouse’s benefits if you become a widow or a widower. Plus, the age when you claim will significantly impact the amount you get each month. Make full use of online tools and calculators designed to help you using benefit formulas, and chat with an accountant, attorney or Social Security officer if you have any questions.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find Dixie on Facebook.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

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