I’m planning to retire next year. I served in the Navy back in the 1960s and need to make sure I get credit for my military service. What do I need to do?
You don’t need to do anything to apply for the special credit for your military service—it is added automatically. For service between 1957 and 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record at the time you apply for Social Security benefits. For service between 1968 and 2001, those extra military service credits have already been added to your record. So you can rest assured that we have you covered. Read our online publication, Military Service and Social Security, at www.ssa.gov/pubs/10017.html. Then when the time comes to apply for retirement, you can do it conveniently and easily at www.ssa.gov/retireonline.
I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be?
You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse’s benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If you decide to receive Social Security retirement benefits before you reach full retirement age, the amount of your benefit is reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you will reach full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you can get 35 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction); if your full retirement age is 67, you can get 32.5 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction).
The amount of your benefit increases if your entitlement begins at a later age, up to the maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. However, if you are taking care of a child who is under age 16 or who gets Social Security disability benefits on your spouse’s record, you get the full spouse’s benefits, regardless of your age. Learn more about retirement benefits at www.ssa.gov/retirement.
My cousin and I are both retired and get Social Security. We worked for the same employer for years, but he gets a higher Social Security benefit. Why is that?
Your payments are based on your earnings over your lifetime. Unless you are both the same age, started and stopped work on the exact same dates, and earned the very same amount every year of your careers, you wouldn’t get the same benefit as your cousin. Social Security benefits are based on many years of earnings—generally your highest 35 years. To learn more about Social Security retirement benefits, visit www.ssa.gov/benefits.
I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help?
Deciding when to retire is a personal choice and you should consider a number of factors, but we can certainly help. First, take a few minutes and open a my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount With a my Social Security account, you can access your Social Security Statement and estimate your retirement benefits at age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. Also, we have several online calculators that can help you decide when to retire. Our Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can use the Retirement Estimator if:
- You currently have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits.
- You are not:
- Currently receiving monthly benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Age 62 or older and receiving monthly benefits on another Social Security record. or
- Eligible for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security.
You can find our Retirement Estimator at www.ssa.gov/estimator. Also available at www.ssa.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm are several other calculators that will show your retirement benefits as well as estimates of your disability and survivors benefit if you become disabled or die. You may want to read or listen to our publication, When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, at www.ssa.gov/pubs.