Social Security Questions & Answers Guide

Skip West
3 min readFeb 13


The Social Security program is a crucial source of income for retirees. It’s also an important safety net for those who become disabled.

Your benefits depend on various factors, including your health and life expectancy. It’s a good idea to consult a financial professional to understand how different claiming scenarios apply to your situation.

Your benefit amount is based on the earnings you’ve earned during your working career. The higher your earnings are, the higher your benefits will be.

The SSA uses your earnings on record to calculate your Social Security retirement benefit; you can view this in your Social Security account.

Generally, you will pay 6.2% of your taxable earnings in Social Security taxes. Your employer also contributes to this amount.

If you are married, include your spouse’s earnings in the calculation. This will increase your benefits by 1.5 times your individual estimated benefit.

Your benefit amount will vary depending on how much you work and at what age you retire. It will also increase each year as the cost of living increases.

When you’re ready to sign up for Social Security benefits, you must know how much you can expect. Your benefit amount is determined by many factors, including how long you’ve worked and at what age you retire.

By creating my Social Security account, you can get a personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefit amount. These estimates are based on your earnings history and are the most accurate for those near retirement age.

Your actual benefit may be lower or higher than this estimate, depending on your work history and the complete compensation rules used by Social Security.

Your benefit is at its highest when you’re 66 or 67 (depending on your birth date). If you delay your retirement until after full retirement age, delayed retirement credits can increase your monthly Social Security payment.

Your benefit amount is a complex equation that depends on many factors, including how much you earn and when you retire. It can be challenging to predict how much you will receive in monthly benefits, but the Social Security Administration offers a quick calculator that can give you an estimate.

The first step in calculating your benefit amount is determining your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). AIME estimates your earnings using past earnings plus the National Average Wage Indexing series that adjusts your earnings for wage inflation.

You can find your AIME by going to the SSA’s website and entering your year and age. Then, go to the column that says “view earnings record.”

Your AIME calculates your primary insurance amount, or PIA, which determines how much of your income will be replaced by Social Security in retirement. APIA changes each year to keep up with increases in the cost of living and other factors.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Social Security is that you don’t have to wait for retirement to benefit from it. You can start taking advantage of the system as early as age 62, which is suitable for those with a family and a job to boot! It’s hard to find someone who the benefactor of our benefits hasn’t touched. We have an illustrious legacy that dates back more than 50 years, but we are always looking for new ways to serve you better. We want to be the government you turn to for all your financial needs, including a big fat check in the mail.



Skip West

Skip West was birthed in Greenville, South Carolina, but he relocated to Arkansas as an adult.