SS_Medicare_flipbook_2017 - page 6

$1,360
Average monthly
retired worker benefit
(in 2017)
$1,300
Average monthly
survivor benefit
(in 2017)
Facts About Social Security
Eligibility
Workers who have accumulated a minimum of 40 work credits, which is 40 fiscal quarters or about
10 years of work, are entitled to receive Social Security retirement benefits. The benefit is based on an
average of the highest 35 years of earnings in the workforce (during which payroll taxes were paid).
Spouses of eligible workers can collect Social Security benefits regardless of whether they worked
or not. Even the unmarried ex-spouse of an eligible worker may be entitled to Social Security benefits
based on the former spouse’s work record if they were married for at least 10 years.
Claiming Ages
You are eligible to receive your “full” Social Security benefit when you reach your “full retirement age.”
In the past, this was age 65, but now it ranges from 66 to 67 depending on year of birth
(see chart on
facing page).
The earliest you can claim retired worker benefits is age 62, but if you do so the monthly benefit is
permanently reduced. For each month you wait to claim benefits after age 62, your benefit increases
slightly, so that at full retirement age you are entitled to 100% of your full retirement benefit.
You can delay claiming Social Security up to age 70. For each year you wait after reaching full
retirement age, your benefit will increase by about 8%.
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