Social Security is the government program that provides you or your dependents with income. It is not an entitlement program. You accrue credits, which determines your benefit amount, by paying into the Social Security trust fund. As you work more and pay into the trust fund, you earn credits.
This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means completed...a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.
-F. Roosevelt, August 14, 1935
At the official government website your can review your earnings history, see your benefits, and get a new Social Security card.
Full retirement age is 66 years old and you'll get 100% of your benefits. However, you may start taking Social Security benefits starting from 62 until 70, and each month you wait your benefits will increase.
Social Security benefits are determined by how many work credits you've earned. It takes a minimum of 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security. For example, in 2017 you needed to earn $1,300 to earn a single credit, with a max of four credits per year. However, not all types of income qualify for credits, such as investment income, gifts, or loans. If you want to check how many credits you have, go to the Social Security Website.
You can call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can find your local Social Security office by searching with your zip code.
It is a big decision when to take Social Security, and it can impact the rest of your retirement. Taking your benefits at 62 vs 70 could be the difference of $100,000 over the course of your retirement. Factors to consider: at what age do you plan to stop working, how long will you be retired for (live until), and do you need the income when you retire or can you delay. Try our Social Security Planner for Free to help get you answers.
The maximum monthly benefit if you retire at 62 is $2,209, at 65 is $2,757, and at 70 is $3,770. As you can see, there is a large difference between taking your benefits at 62 vs 70.
Unfortunately yes. 85% of benefits are subject to taxes for individuals with more than $34,000 in annual earnings and couples with more than $44,000. Also, 13 states tax Social Security.
Social Security Disability is for those who have enough working credits and a medical condition that prevents them for working for at least 12 months (or ends in death). A 20-year old worker has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled by 66 (full retirement age). More information and how to apply here.