Ask Larry

Calculating Retirement Benefits

Why Isn't My Benefit Much Higher Than My Husband's Even Though I Paid In A Lot More?

I started taking SSA in Feb 2020 which was one month after my birth month and at age 62. I paid into SSA $102,000 more than my spouse who is 17 years older than me. He started taking SSA at 62 also which means he has been taking it since Aug of 2003. He paid $56,044 into SSA in total. When I got my SSA tax statement this year my benefit total paid to me last year was $21310 for 11 months. My husband's benefit paid to him for 12 months was 21271.20.

Friday, January 15, 2021 - 09:40

If I'm Not Working Will My Benefit Rate Continue To Increase?

I am wondering if I do not start taking my Social Security payment the month I retire, but wait until later--I won't be contributing to Social Security since I won't be working--so my question is, if I am not contributing, but wait to start my payments, will the payments increase? Do they increase according to the projections shown on the website Benefit Estimate Table? I called a Social Security representative who did not understand my question. Thank you.


Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 16:59

Can You Explain Why Paying The Maximum Contribution For 35 Years Isn't Necessarily Sufficient To Earn The Maximum Benefit?

Larry - I started drawing my Social Security benefit at age 70 in 2019 The maximum benefit for my retirement year was $3770. Factoring in the COLA increases for 2020 and 2021 I am about $40 a month short of the maximum benefit. This is confusing as I made the maximum contribution for 38 years of my 53 years working. I think the issue has something to do with the inflation adjustment factors for years 1972-1977. Even though I made the maximum contribution it appears that the adjusted amount for those years were insufficient to allow me to earn the maximum.

Thursday, December 31, 2020 - 14:26

Where Can I Find This Year's Publication For Calculating Social Security Benefits?

Where can I find this year's publication for calculating Social Security Benefits? Last year, it was published in Social Security Publication 05-10070. It used to list all of the index factors so you could calculate your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings. Have they changed the formula for calculating benefits? Or are they just not publishing the Index Factors?

Friday, September 4, 2020 - 09:06

Will Social Security Recalculate My WEP Reduction If I Have Additional Substantial Earnings Years?

I am subject to WEP. I am drawing teacher retirement. I have 21 years of substantial earnings (stopped teaching at age 46--worked as CPA for over 20 years) I wish to start my SS benefits this November. I will be 68. I will continue to report substantial earnings for 2-3 more years. Will the SSA recalculate my increase in substantial earnings related to WEP, or do I need to ask them to do that. I know they will recalculate for a new PIA if that applies and it probably should. I understand that SSA does its recalculations to be effective in January each year. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 15:41
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