Social Security is an entitlement program that has existed since President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. It’s meant to provide a benefit to nearly all Americans once they reach retirement age.
Exactly how much money can you expect to get if you collect Social Security for the rest of your life? The answer to that is connected to a complex formula, but it comes down to this.
According to Investopedia, to qualify for Social Security you must work for around 10 years, which allows you to accumulate 40 “work credits.” Once you do that, you can claim Social Security at age 62.
However, many people want until they reach the “Full Retirement Age” (FRA) to quality. What age that is depends on when the person was born. For those born between 1943 and 1954, that age is 66, although if you were born in 1960 or after, it is 67.
Also, those who wait until age 70 to claim Social Security can get higher benefits.
Per that article, the maximum monthly benefit for Social Security recipients is $2,325 for those who file at age 62, $3,113 for those who file at Full Retirement Age, and $3,895 for those who file at age 70.
“Social Security benefits are calculated by combining your 35 highest-paid years (if you worked for more than 35 years). First, all wages are indexed to account for inflation. Wages from previous years are multiplied by a factor based on the years in which each salary was earned and the year in which the claimant reaches age 60,” per Investopedia. “This calculation gives an amount comparable to buying power based on the current value of the dollar. Accounting for this valuation change is important because a salary of $14,000 was far more impressive in 1954 than it is today.”
Earlier this year, the government released instructions for how to obtain stimulus checks if you receive Social Security. The checks began rolling out in April for the nation’s current Social Security recipients.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.