Social Security Questions And Answers

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Q - How are my retirement benefits calculated?

A - Your Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over your lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age. For some, that is age 65. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

You can calculate your estimated benefit by using our Retirement Estimator which offers estimates based on your Social Security earnings.

Also, you can find your estimate on the annual Social Security Statement we send you about three months before your birthday each year.

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