Even though Social Security has been around for over half a century there are still many people who don’t know what their benefits are or what they are entitled to from the federal government. Starting March 1, 2013 there will also no longer be paper checks mailed out to recipients and, with that loss goes the loss of the explanation of what they paid in and what they should expect to get back. With that in mind we’ve put together a list of the 13 Things that everyone should know about Social Security. Enjoy!
- 6.2 percent of your income is taken up to $113,700.00 (2013 numbers). Your employer must pay a matching 6.2% to make a total of 12.4%. If you are self employed you will need to give up the full 12.4% yourself.
- Your benefits are based on the 35 best years that you were in the workforce, income wise. This is adjusted for inflation and 0s are added in for any years that you didn’t pay if you don’t have 35 years total.
- The full retirement age for anyone born during or after 1960 is 67. Your full retirement age if you were born before 1960 will vary so make sure to ask.
- If you start getting payments before your full retirement age you will get reduced payments for the rest of your life.
- Delaying when you start getting your social security checks will mean bigger checks in the future. You can do this until age 70 and then any benefits from not getting your money will end.
- If a spouse dies the surviving spouse will get the benefits based on whoever had the higher amount of income.
- Ex-spouses can be eligible to receive payments if there is no new spouse and the marriage lasted more than 10 years.
- Social security payments are adjusted every year for inflation. This started in 1975 and, while it’s not much, it’s better than nothing. (Not much better but still better.)
- Social security can be used when someone who is not retired becomes disabled.
- The spouse and children of a working person can collect their social security benefits if they pass away.
- Electronic payments and direct deposit are now the norm.
- Many of the services that the Social Security administration performed can now be accessed online.
- The social security trust fund is expected to be gone by 2033.
Bonus 14. The federal government is a mess so, if you can, savings and other investments should be made so that you don’t have to rely on them keeping their promises and paying for your future.
And there you have them. Some of the items above need a lot more clarification and so you should consult a tax attorney or the social security administration itself for more clarification and to be sure that you get everything that’s coming to you. Lord knows you paid enough in, now it’s time to get it back.