Retirement Benefits

Why Did My Projected Benefit Rates Go Down?

I am 64. I just received my annual Social Security statement and am horrified to see that the predicted benefits that I would receive were I to retire at 64, 66, or 70 have all gone down by about 18%. This makes a huge dent in my plan to retire in two years.

How did this happen? Was there a legislative change that was not well publicized? Is there a new calculation method in use?


Does Filing And Suspending Affect The Benefit Computation?

I understand that SS benefit calculated on highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings, including earnings between age 66 and 70, for delayed retirement.
However, does this also apply if person “filed and suspended” at age 66 and a spousal benefit has been paid?
In other words, will the delayed retirement SS benefit (to be paid at 70) be updated to include (higher) earnings during suspension period?


How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated?

How is the SS benefit calculated if a person starts to draw it at 70 and if he worked full time from the age of 66 to 70, but did not take SS benefits, while he and his employer continued to make SS and Medicaid contributions??


Social Security retirement benefits are calculated based on a person's highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings. For more detailed information, refer to this Social Security publication:

How Can I Raise My Monthly Benefit Rate?

I'm a hair stylist in my mid 60's and my social security is projected to be 1300 at 70. What can I do to get the payment as high as possible?

Hi Jackie,

There's really only two ways to increase your monthly retirement benefit rate:
1) Wait past full retirement age (FRA) to begin drawing your benefits; and,
2) Continue to earn as much annually as possible.

Is There A Time You Should Avoid Filing?

Aloha. I am trying to help a family member who was born in 1951 and so (I think!) he qualifies for Social Security benefits when he turns 66 in August. He said that he is concerned about applying during a “rat hole” - a relatively short period of time after one qualifies during which benefits are calculated at a lower value. Do you understand the term, and is there any reason that he should not just file on schedule in August? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!


Can I Re-Apply If I Think My Benefit Was Miscalculated?

If I am already collecting soc sec, and I think it was calculated wrong , can I reapply to maximize my benefit?


You can't re-apply for the same type of benefit, but you could ask for a recomputation of your benefit rate. You'll need to submit a written request to Social Security explaining why you believe that a higher rate is due. Or, if you're still within the 60 day appeal period since your claim was processed, you can request an appeal (

Will I Be Penalized For Taking Benefits Before Full Retirement Age?

I am planning on taking my social security benefit in August of this year, I will turn 65. I am currently working part time. My social security benefit is estimated at around 1,403 a month. My earnings for last year were 22,645.08. Will I be penalized for working and claiming benefits before full retirement age? I can't afford to lose income , my social security will be my only income. I am married and my husband works. Also, how long does it take to get benefits once you apply? I read that you can make up to 16,940.00 before you are penalized.


Do We Qualify For More Benefits?

I retired mid Dec 2015 and turned 65 the end of March 2016. I started receiving SS in April 2016. My husband is 11 years older and has been receiving SS for a long while. I also receive spousal benefits. Neither of us work. I am now my husband's caregiver. We have IRAs totaling more than $27,250. Do we qualify for more?


Based solely on the information in your question, it sounds like you are already receiving as much as you can get from Social Security.

Best, Jerry

Can I Start Drawing Benefits 6 Months Before Turning Age 66 And Still Get My Full Retirement Age Rate?

I am turning 66 in July of 2018. Can I apply in January 2018 and receive my full retirement age benefits 6 months early in the year i turn 66?


No, you can't. If you'll earn less than $44,880 (or whatever the exempt amount of earnings is set at in 2018) in the months prior to the month you reach age 66, you could start drawing benefits effective with January. However, your benefit rate will be permanently reduced by about 3.33% if you do so.