Social Security

Social Security benefits are complicated! As a thrifty senior, you must know what your benefits will be if you are not already receiving your benefits.

The best place to find the amount of your SS benefit at retirement is in your Social Security Statement.  This is mailed to you annually about three months before your birthday if you have paid into the program and you are over 25 years of age.

Here is a picture of the first page of my Statement.

Social Security Statement Page 1

If you have contributed to the SS program and earned 40 credits, you can start drawing benefits at age 62.  However, your benefits will be reduced 20% below full retirement benefits.

If you were born in 1938 or later, you have to work to age 66 or 67 to get full retirement benefits depending on the year of birth.

Here is the table to calculate when you will be able to receive full retirement benefits:

Year of Birth* Full Retirement Age
1937 or earlier 65
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943 - 1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 or later 67
*Refer to the previous year if you were born on January 1.

Your monthly payment amount is on Page 2 of the Statement.

Social Security Statement Page 2

If you cannot find your statement, don't worry, SS provides several calculators at Benefit Calculators to help you estimate your benefits. Be sure to look at the links in the top left of the page for all the available calculators, estimators, or planners.

If you have not received your statement (or lost it), you can submit a request online and receive your statement by mail in 2 to 4 weeks. However, if you request a statement this year, will not automatically receive another statement until next year.

This statement does not tell you the various benefit combinations that are available in the SS program.  Read more about how to maximize Social Security benefits.

I recommend that you spend some time reading and learning about the various benefits that are available.  My wife and I almost lost $33,552 in benefits because we did not do our homework.

Read our story at Maximize Social Security.