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Frequently Asked Questions
Your benefit amount can be affected by a number of different factors. If you already have a benefit estimate, you can use the charts and calculators listed on this page to find out how different retirement dates and situations affect your Social Security benefits. If you:
  • are currently working and are eligible for retirement or survivors benefits this year, you can learn how your earnings may affect your benefit payments with our Earnings Limit Calculator.

  • start benefits early, the amount may be reduced based on how long you will receive benefits before your full retirement age. If you want to find out how much retiring early reduces your monthly benefit as a wage earner or spouse, use our Retirement Age Calculator.

  • will start receiving benefits after your full retirement age, your benefit may be higher due to delayed retirement credits.

  • are trying to decide whether to retire early and take a reduced benefit, wait until full retirement age or delay benefits until age 70 we can help you decide if the higher benefit is worth the wait. If you

  • know the amount of your full retirement benefit, you can

  • will receive a pension from a federal, state or local government job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, it may reduce the amount of your Social Security benefit. Find out what having a government pension will do to your Social Security benefit if it is based on:


How much income will you need?

Under current law, if you have average earnings, your Social Security retirement benefits will replace about 40 percent of your pre-retirement earnings. The percentage is lower for people in the upper income brackets and higher for people with low incomes.

Your Social Security benefits are the foundation on which you can build a secure retirement. Savings and pensions also are key components of your retirement plan. Most financial advisors say you'll need about 70 percent of your pre-retirement earnings to comfortably maintain your pre-retirement standard of living. They recommend that you prepare for the future with a combination of Social Security, private pensions and personal savings.

Make a note of your benefit estimate, and any pension you may qualify for, and continue your planning with the Retirement Income Estimator (new browser).

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Last reviewed or modified Friday Sep 12, 2008
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