Brocker.Org: Your 2017 Guide to Social Security Benefits – Fox Business


About 90% of Us residents more than 65 gather Social Safety retirement gains, so they’re a massive part of most Americans’ retirement arranging. Simply because of this, it truly is significant to know how Social Safety performs, how gains are decided, and what to expect in the foreseeable future.

With that in head, here’s your 2017 guide to aid you understand your present-day or foreseeable future Social Safety gains.

Impression source: Getty Photographs.

Are you qualified for Social Safety?

To be qualified to gather Social Safety retirement gains, you require to be at least sixty two decades old. You may also require to have acquired 40 Social Safety “credits” to gather a advantage on your have function file.

In 2017, a person Social Safety credit rating is equivalent to $1,three hundred in earnings, and this total has elevated more than the decades. You can gain a utmost of four Social Safety credits in a person yr. In other words, to qualify for a Social Safety advantage, you will require to have labored for at least 10 decades in which you acquired about the equal of $5,two hundred in 2017 dollars or extra.

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Spouses have a special rule for eligibility. I’ll explore spousal gains in extra depth afterwards, but if you failed to function a lot (or at all) but your spouse did, you can gather a spousal advantage equivalent to 50 % of your spouse’s total retirement advantage.

What modified for 2017?

Here is a complete discussion of the 2017 Social Safety alterations, but the principal factors similar to retirement gains are:

  • Social Safety recipients get a .3% price-of-living adjustment (COLA).
  • The utmost taxable Social Safety earnings are $127,two hundred, up from $118,five hundred.
  • The thresholds for the “earnings check” have elevated to $16,920 for beneficiaries who will achieve retirement age immediately after 2017, and $forty four,880 for beneficiaries who will achieve retirement age in the course of 2017. The earnings check is significant for folks who function and gather Social Safety, and a total discussion can be uncovered afterwards in this guide.

How your Social Safety advantage is calculated

Contrary to most pension systems that take into account just the past few decades of earnings, Social Safety considers your total function file.

Precisely, your lifetime earnings, up to the Social Safety taxable utmost for each individual yr, are indexed for inflation. Then, your 35 best-earning decades are averaged with each other and divided by twelve to deliver your ordinary indexed monthly earnings (AIME).

This ordinary is then applied to a formulation to ascertain your Social Safety advantage at total retirement age. For 2017, the formulation is:

  • 90% of the to start with $885
  • 32% of the total involving $885 and $5,336
  • 15% of the total earlier mentioned $5,336

These amounts are extra with each other to compute your total Social Safety retirement advantage, also regarded as your key insurance total, or PIA. If you opt for to assert Social Safety ahead of or immediately after your total retirement age, this advantage can be forever reduced or elevated, which I’ll explore afterwards.

What is the most significant attainable Social Safety advantage?

In 2017, the utmost Social Safety advantage that can consequence from the formulation I talked over earlier mentioned is $two,687 per month. In purchase to get this advantage, however, you require to have acquired the Social Safety utmost taxable wages or extra in each individual of 35 various decades.

Since your advantage is forever reduced if you assert early, the utmost attainable Social Safety advantage at age sixty two is $1,993 for 2017. Conversely, if somebody waited until eventually age 70 to assert gains for the to start with time in 2017, the utmost attainable advantage is $3,547 per month.

How a lot really should you expect to get?

There is certainly no 100% correct way to estimate your Social Safety retirement advantage if you’re however doing work. Nonetheless, the best estimate working with your function history and age can be uncovered on your Social Safety statement, which is current each individual yr.

You can find your newest Social Safety statement by building an account at Your statement incorporates a ton of beneficial details, these kinds of as:

  • Your estimated advantage total at total retirement age
  • A thorough history of how a lot you have acquired each individual yr
  • Estimates for incapacity and survivors’ gains, really should you require them

Info source: Social Safety Administration.

All over again, these figures are just estimates, and your eventual advantage total could be quite various, specially if you’re relatively younger now.

What is your total retirement age?

This is extra major in 2017 than in latest decades. Us residents reaching the age of eligibility (sixty two) is 2017 really have a various total retirement age than folks who have reached sixty two in latest decades. Here is how to ascertain your total retirement age.

For folks born involving 1943 and 1954, total retirement age is 66 decades old. For these born immediately after that time time period, the total (or standard) retirement age step by step increases to sixty seven for these born in 1960 or afterwards.

Here is a chart to aid you ascertain your total retirement age for Social Safety.

If you were born in…

Your total (standard) retirement age is…


66 decades


66 decades, two months


66 decades, 4 months


66 decades, 6 months


66 decades, eight months


66 decades, 10 months

1960 or afterwards

sixty seven decades

Your total retirement is helpful to know, since your calculated Social Safety advantage total from the earlier portion (also regarded as the key insurance total) assumes you start out amassing gains at this age accurately.

Reduced gains for declaring early, larger gains for declaring late

I talked about before that you can assert Social Safety as early as sixty two or as late as age 70. If you assert ahead of your total retirement age, your advantage will be forever reduced, and if you wait around until eventually immediately after your total retirement age to assert gains, yours will be forever elevated.

The exact maximize or reduce of your initial advantage total is decided by the next percentages, which are applied to your calculated total retirement advantage:

  • Your advantage will be reduced by 6 two/3% per yr ahead of your total retirement age (5/9% per month) for up to 36 months ahead of total retirement age.
  • Outside of 36 months, your advantage is additional reduced by 5% per yr (5/twelve% per month), as early as age sixty two.
  • For delayed retirement, your advantage is forever elevated by eight% per yr (two/3% per month) outside of your total retirement age, until eventually a utmost of age 70.

How to assert your gains

The simplest way to use for Social Safety gains is online at The application normally takes about 15 minutes, in accordance to the SSA, and there are no additional types to sign, and commonly are no additional documentation necessities.

If you never want to use online, you do have other alternatives. You can use by cell phone from seven a.m. to seven p.m., Monday by means of Friday, or in particular person at your regional Social Safety office environment. If you opt for to use in particular person, the SSA advises that you really should make an appointment. You can appear up the SS office environment closest to you in this article.

Social Safety isn’t really just retirement gains

There is certainly extra to Social Safety than retirement gains. In fact, there are four other varieties of Social Safety gains to be aware of:

  • Spousal gains: If you and your spouse the two file for Social Safety at total retirement age, each individual spouse is confirmed a minimum amount of 50 % of the other’s advantage. For illustration, if a retiree is entitled to a monthly advantage of $two,000, their spouse will get at least $1,000, even if their have advantage total would be a lot considerably less.
  • Survivors’ gains: If a worker dies, his widow, little ones, and other dependents could be qualified for gains. Survivors gains are an total subject matter by on their own, so here’s a total discussion of this function of Social Safety.
  • Incapacity gains: If you turn out to be disabled and can no more time function, your Social Safety file could entitle you to gains by means of Social Safety Incapacity Insurance policy. You can find your theoretical incapacity advantage total on your Social Safety statement.
  • SSI gains: Supplemental Safety Money, or SSI, is a require-dependent plan that supplies extra earnings to disabled or retired individuals with confined assets and earnings.

Can you assert Social Safety if you’re however doing work in 2017?

Indeed, but your gains could be reduced, dependent on your age and earnings, in accordance to the Social Safety “earnings check.” As I talked about before, the earnings check limits have been drastically elevated for 2017.

When it arrives to doing work and amassing Social Safety, the SSA considers a few various categories of beneficiaries:

  • For SS recipients who will not still achieve total retirement age in the 2017 calendar yr, the to start with $16,920 in earnings is exempt ($1,410 per month). Outside of that total, each individual $two in earnings will lower Social Safety gains by $1.
  • For SS recipients who will achieve total retirement age in the course of 2017, the to start with $forty four,880 in annual earnings ($3,740 per month) are exempt, and the reduction is just $1 for each individual $3 in earnings outside of that. For this check, only the months ahead of the month of your birthday count.
  • Lastly, SS recipients who opt for to function previous total retirement age will expertise no advantage reduction, no make a difference how a lot they gain.

It’s also significant to be aware that any reduction in gains isn’t really missing — fairly, a reduction will maximize your foreseeable future advantage total. For a extra complete description of the procedures about doing work and amassing Social Safety, look at out this short article.

Is Social Safety likely broke?

If somebody tells you that Social Safety is broke or bankrupt, never imagine them.

The fact is that Social Safety has income in the lender, and a great total of it. At the close of 2015, the Social Safety have faith in fund experienced reserves of about $two.eight trillion. Furthermore, for the time currently being, the plan is getting in extra income than it truly is shelling out out. In fact, Social Security’s earnings is projected to exceed the program’s prices by means of 2019 2015’s surplus was about $23 billion.

Nonetheless, the undesirable news is that it truly is not envisioned to past. Excluding interest earnings, there is envisioned to be a deficit relative to gathered payroll taxes likely ahead, averaging $69 billion per yr by means of 2019 and rising sharply immediately after that. Beginning in 2020, Social Safety will commence functioning an over-all deficit, and will require to tap into its reserves in purchase to satisfy its obligations to retirees. This is envisioned to consequence in full depletion of the have faith in fund in 2034.

In a nutshell, Social Safety will never operate into major hassle for virtually two decades. Even so, it truly is significant to explain that immediately after 2034, retirees will never just prevent obtaining checks. In fact, the incoming payroll taxes will however be sufficient to cover about a few-quarters of promised gains. So, as a worst-scenario situation, retirees would see a twenty five% pay slice from Social Safety starting in 2034.

What could alter in the course of the Trump presidency and outside of?

It’s difficult to say accurately what alterations are likely to transpire, but a little something will require to be carried out to ensure the solvency of Social Safety for foreseeable future generations. There are a number of ways to repair Social Safety, and there are good reasons to imagine each individual a person could really transpire. Study effects display that the American community is typically in favor of raising Social Safety taxes, specially on substantial earners, if it signifies that gains will be safe for foreseeable future generations. On the other hand, with a Republican Congress, proposed alternatives are most likely to include advantage reductions, these kinds of as raising the total retirement age or signifies-screening gains.

A further not known are the intentions (and willingness to compromise) of President-elect Donald Trump. Throughout his campaign, Trump promised not to lower Social Safety gains or elevate taxes, so it will be fascinating to see what alterations take area, if any, more than the upcoming four or eight decades.

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