Social Security


If you have any questions concerning Social Security you can reach a representative by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting their website at www.ssa.gov.

Retirement Benefit Qualifications

Early retirement age 62 (80% benefit), full retirement age (FRA) 65 if born 1937 or earlier. Gradual increase in full retirement age, and proportional decrease in early retirement percentage, each year until year of birth 1960 when full retirement age reaches 67, and early retirement at age 62 would qualify for 70% of benefit.

Spouse's Benefit

The higher of either their own benefit, or 50% of qualified spouses' benefit, adjusted proportionately for early retirement. A spouse's benefit is increased upon the death of the qualified benefactor (see widows' benefit). An ex-spouse can earn an equal benefit if the prior marriage lasted at least 10 years, the divorce is at least 2 years old, and the spouse has not remarried.

Widow/Widower's Benefit

Widow(er)s can begin receiving benefits at age 60 or age 50 if disabled. A widow would receive 71.5% of deceased spouses' benefit at age 60. This percentage would be adjusted upward each year until a maximum 100% benefit is reached at age 65.

Special one time payment to widow of $255, after spouses' death.

Earnings Limitations for Social Security

The earnings limitation applies to Social Security beneficiaries under the full retirement age who participate in the labor force and receive wages. Under current law, no person who retires prior to the age of 62 may receive Social Security benefits until they reach the age of 62, although any person who retires before their full retirement age is subject to a reduced benefit.

In 2010 the following limitations were imposed for Social Security retirees. For beneficiaries under full retirement age, $1 of benefit will be deducted for each $2 of earnings above $14,160. The annual exemption for those under 65 will be raised according to increases in wage levels.

Survivors Benefit

(Usually 75 to 100% of your basic SS benefit)

Social Security Disability (SSD)