GO
Loading...
1 / 12    

Social Security Benefits: 10 Things You Must Know

Jim McGuire | Photolibrary | Getty Images

» more from Return on Retirement

10 Things You Must Know

Social Security Insurance was established in 1935 as a financial safety net for older Americans. Eight decades later, all Americans pay into the system, with Social Security the largest source of income for citizens age 65 and older.

During 2012, nearly 160 million workers will continue to have 4.2 percent of their pay deposited into the Social Security Trust Fund instead of the usual 6.2 percent, according to a statement from the IRS based on the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011.

The program is based on contributions that workers make into the system. While you're employed, you pay into Social Security; when it's your turn to retire you receive benefits.

You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70 (if you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67). Your monthly benefit amount will be different depending on the age you start receiving it.

The amount of money you receive from Social Security is based on a number of factors, including how much income you earned throughout your working years, the year you were born, and the age at which you file for benefits. If you claim Social Security early, your benefits will be reduced by a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age.

Even if you’re not approaching retirement, whatever your age, or income, Social Security is a part of life that impacts us all. Staying aware of the changes in this important government program will help you be better prepared, in both your present and future financial planning efforts.

The following 10 points are based on best practices recommended by the U.S. Social Security Administration of policy website.

By Jessica NaziriPosted 13 April 2012

Jim McGuire | Photolibrary | Getty Images