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  • Writer's pictureJeremiah Butout

Social Security Simplified: Common Questions and Answers

Most American workers who earn wage income and pay Social Security taxes via withholding receive Social Security benefits at some point in retirement. While the Social Security Administration has tried to make the process easier to understand and navigate, many questions remain. Whether you are getting close to retirement or even if retirement is still a little way off, here are some common questions and answers regarding Social Security.

What Age Do I Qualify for Social Security?

The qualifying age for Social Security depends on your birth year and whether you want to opt for early, full, or late retirement. Those born between 1943 and 1954 have a FRA of 66. After that, your FRA increases by a few months depending on the year you were born; if you are born after 1960, the FRA is 67.

Early retirement is possible for those as young as 62, though you receive much smaller monthly payments. You may choose to wait and receive a higher amount for your monthly checks by not collecting benefits until the age of 70.1

How Much Will I Receive for My Social Security Payment?

Your work credits determine your Social Security payment amount, your average annual earnings, and the number of years you worked. You may see these calculations by creating an account to view your updated Social Security statement each month. The average monthly benefit amount for Social Security is $1,831, and the maximum benefit is around $3,627.2

Am I Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Benefits?

Yes, you may work while you are collecting Social Security benefits. If you are at full retirement age or older, you can earn as much as you want and continue receiving your full Social Security benefits. If you retire early, earnings from working wages may temporarily and partially decrease your benefit amount until you reach full retirement age. Before full retirement age, the maximum allowed earnings from wage income before a reduction in benefits occurs is $21,240.2

Will I Pay Taxes on Social Security Benefits?

Whether you pay taxes on your Social Security benefits depends on your other earnings and (if married) your spouse's earnings if you file together. If you have a combined income between $32,000 and $44,000, 50% of your benefits are taxed. If your income exceeds that, 85% of your benefit amount is taxed.2

When Will I Receive My Monthly Social Security Payment?

Payments for Social Security benefits are made via direct deposit, either to a prepaid debit card or directly to your bank account. Payments are spaced throughout the month based on your birthdate. If your birthdate is on the 10th of the month or before, your payment will be deposited on the second Wednesday of each month. If your birthdate is between the 11th and 20th of your birth month, your pay date will be the third Wednesday. Dates after that receive payment on the fourth Wednesday of each month.1

How Do I Apply for My Benefits?

You can apply for your benefits four months before they are scheduled to start by going to your local Social Security office, visiting to create an online account, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Be prepared to present specific documentation such as your birth certificate and other documents requested on Form SSA-1.2.

Important Disclosures:

This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. If you are seeking tax advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking #540923


1 Frequently Asked Social Security Benefit Questions

2 10 Common Questions About Social Security


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