Social Security and Retirement Benefits

Social security is a payment by the government to retired persons over a certain age. This payment comes from deductions made from wages earned during employment in years preceding retirement. Social security income can be collected as early as the age of 62 or as late as 70.

There are incentives given to help people delay claiming the benefits, as the amount increases by a small percentage. Disability benefits can also be drawn when a person is unable to work due to a disability. The social security disability income earned at the end of the term depends on three factors. These are:

  • The number of years worked and contributed to social security
  • The amount earned at the said jobs
  • The age when the benefits are claimed

Social Security Benefit Application Procedure

It is important to note supplemental social security income does not kick in automatically when a person attains the specified age. They must be applied for by filling a social security application form provided by the Social Security Administration. Applications for social security benefits can only be accepted if the person was born after 1929 has amassed least 40 credits, an equivalent of 10 years of work.

A social security benefits application will be invalid if the number of credits has not reached 40, even having attained the age of 62. This is not to mean the benefits are lost all the same. If employment is sought, the benefits continue to accumulate from where the last employment credits had reached. You can apply for benefits at If you are denied benefits you should appeal the decision.

Disability benefits

In the event a disabling injury occurs and a person has met the work requirements, though not attained the retirement age, a social security disability application can be made. The Social Security program medical guidelines must declare the person disabled so that the benefits can be claimed. Social security disability income comes to almost about the same amount that would be offered under retirement benefits.

To estimate the benefits to be achieved upon retirement, a person must check through the social security application online at The statement is not mailed once a year as was the case in past years. A social security number application is used to log in to view account status.

How Social Security Benefits are calculated

To understand how the ultimate benefits figure is arrived at, there are three factors that are considered.

  • The worker's earnings are calculated in terms of current wages so as to reflect growth of wages
  • An average of the wages earned for the highest 35 years is calculated and then divided by 12. This gives the average Indexed Monthly Earnings, (AIME)
  • The social security income formula is the applied to AIME to give the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) which becomes the benefit payable at the Full Retirement Age (FRA)

In the event less than 35 years are worked, the years with no earning are filled in with zeros. If the person worked more than 35 years, the highest earning 35 years will be considered.

Social security income limits

They come into effect in the event a person is claiming full social security benefits and is younger than full retirement age. According to 2016 statistics, $1 is deducted from benefits for every $2 earned above $15,480.


There is no doubt that supplemental security income is an important safety net for millions of Americans who have toiled hard in their employment years. Spouses and children can also claim a person's benefits when a retired worker makes a social security retirement application and is accepted. Spouses may get up to 50% of what the retiree is receiving while children may get up to 75% each of a retiree's benefits in the event he passes before attaining retirement age, with a maximum figure of between 150% - 180 % being set by the Social Security Administration.

What's Next?

The next step is to actually start the sign up process on the website. The process is straight-forward and takes less than an hour. In addition there are many third-party services that can help with the sign-up process if you prefer. If you have applied and been denied Social Security Benefits or Disability Benefits click here: How to proceed after Social Security Benefits Denial.