5 Facts You Should Know About Social Security Retirement Benefits

5 Facts You Should Know About Social Security Retirement Benefits

Social Security can be a confusing topic and everyone’s social security strategy is specific to their circumstances, life expectancy, financial situation, etc. The decision you make about when to file will impact the rest of your life and can make a difference worth thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Here are a few helpful facts, tips, and resources that can help you better understand Social Security benefits. 

  1. Your Full Retirement Age (FRA) is when you are eligible to receive unreduced benefits and is based on the year in which you were born – it has gradually increased over time as people are living longer.

Source: SmartAsset

2. If you’re still working your Social Security benefits can be reduced

  • If you are under your FRA and still working, $1 is deducted from your benefit for every $2 over the combined income limit
  • If it is the calendar year of your FRA, $1 is deducted from your benefit for every $3 over the combined income limit
  • Upon the month of your FRA, there is no longer a deduction from your benefit

3. You can take Social Security benefits as early as 62 years old – however, you will receive a slightly lower benefit amount for each month before your FRA. This chart can help inform how much lower your benefits may be if you decide to take them early.

4. You still may pay income taxes on your Social Security benefits –

  • These income limits can adjust each year – for 2023 it is:
  • Up to 50% for individual filers with a Combined Income between $25k-$34k and up to 85% for combined income above $34k
  • For Joint filers – up to 50% for combined income between $32k-$44k and up to 85% for income above $44k

5. You can take benefits based on your spouse’s earnings record –

  • You can file for both your own Social Ssecurity benefits as well as spousal benefits and you will receive whichever is higher. Spousal benefits are normally around 50% of the spouse’s FRA benefit
  • You are also able to take benefits on an ex-spouse’s earnings record if you were married for at least 10 years and you are 62 years or older

You can create a free account online where you can keep track of your wage history to ensure accuracy, review your projected benefit amounts as well apply for benefits.

When you are ready to file for benefits you have 3 filing options:

Here are a few additional resources and helpful articles to check out:

When to take Social Security can vary from person to person depending on an individual’s needs, goals, financial situation, and life expectancy. If you need help deciding on the best strategy for you when filing for Social Security – reach out to us at MainStreet Financial Planning and we would be happy to help make sure you get the most out of your Social Security benefits!


Katherine Edwards
Katherine Edwards

Katherine is a Certified Financial Planner® and joined the Mainstreet team in 2022. She has a passion to help clients achieve financial peace of mind so they can not only achieve their goals but also enjoy life along the way. She has been in the industry since 2014 and received her CFP® designation through Kaplan’s program at Duke University in 2017. She enjoys helping clients create and implement a financial plan that is specific to their needs, values and goals. Katherine believes that having a comprehensive financial plan can change the trajectory of someone’s life and impact generations after them.

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