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General Guide for Social Security benefits

Want to learn more about Social Security and the benefits you can get from it when you retire? The following is a short introduction to Social Security benefits.

First, lets start with some definitions:

Early Retirement: Early Retirement age is 62. This means you can start getting your Social Security benefits when you turn 62 - but - you will get less than you would if you would have waiting until you were at the Full Retirement age. This reduction in pay is permanent based on how soon before your full retirement age you decided to retire.

Full Retirement Age: The age of your Full Retirement age depends upon when you were born. You can get this information from the Social Security office. In general though, people who are retiring around now the full retirement age is 65. Roughly speaking, for those born in the 1950's, their full retirement age is 66 years and some number of months. For those born after 1960 it is 67.

When you retire at your full retirement age you will get your full Social Security benefits.

Delayed Retirement: Some people decide to retire later. This may be because they like their job and want to work longer or maybe they need to make more money before they can retire. If you work longer you will get more benefits because you will have paid more into Social Security. You will also get a percent increase in pay depending upon when you were born. For example if you were in born in 1943 or later you will get an increase of 8.0% for each year you delay retiring - until you reach 70 years old.

Eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits

When you get paid by most places Social Security taxes are taken out of your check automatically. Sometimes they are called FICA. Depending upon how much you make you get so many credits credited to you each year. You can only get a maximum of 4 credits a year. To be eligible for Social Security benefits when you retire you need to have 40 credits.

Benefits for widows and widowers

Women or men who are either widows or widowers can start getting benefits when they are 60 years old or at 50 if they are disabled.

Disabled Children Benefits

In some cases you may be able to get benefits if you are taking care of disabled children. If you spouse is less than 62 years old and is taking care of a kid who is less than 16 or is disabled you can get some benefits. Or if your kids are 18-19 and are still in high school or if you have a disabled kid over 18. There are limits to the amounts that can be paid for family benefits however.

Getting Social Security

You can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213 or make an appointment at a local office. Some of the documents you will need to sign up are the following:

- your Social Security number
- birth certificate
- your W-2 forms or self-employment equivalent
- military discharge papers if you were in the military
- kids birth certificates and Social Security numbers if you are getting any benefits for them
- proof of U.S. citizenship
- bank name and account number for direct deposit.

See other articles about retirement:

Who, What, Why, Where, When and How of Retirement! and Smart retirement ideas for women of all ages!


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