§ 162. Old-Age Benefits - Amount

The monthly old-age insurance (retirement) benefit is pegged to a "full retirement age" defined in the Social Security Act (which is between 65 and 67 depending on year of birth). Those who start benefits at that age get their full "primary insurance amount," an amount that is based on their personal earnings history. Those who start benefits prior to that "full retirement age" receive a smaller monthly sum; those who start benefits later, a larger one. Prior to that "full retirement age," benefits are also affected by the worker's continued receipt of significant earned income. Claimants seeking benefits while they continue to work may have their monthly benefit reduced or even eliminated because of the resulting earnings. Lastly, a "Windfall Elimination Provision" reduces the base benefit for individuals who also receive pensions based on employment that was not covered and taxed by Social Security, as for example, work for some government agencies or employment outside the U.S.

See generally SSA, How To Use The Online Retirement Estimator; Online Retirement Estimator; Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured; Windfall Elimination Provision.

Rev. 12/01

  • Related Sections:
    • Part 1
      § 160. Old-Age Benefits - In General
      § 161. Old-Age Benefits - Entitlement
      § 163. Old-Age Benefits - Relationship to Prior or Subsequent Benefits Received by Worker
      § 164. Old-Age Benefits - Benefits for Others That Are Linked To
      § 601. Social Security Benefit Calculation - The Role of the Primary Insurance Amount
      § 602. Social Security Benefit Calculation - Calculating the Primary Insurance Amount
      § 603. Social Security Benefit Calculation - Shares of the Primary Insurance Amount
      § 604. Social Security Benefit Calculation - Effect on Benefits of the Timing of Application
      § 605. Social Security Benefit Calculation - Effect on Benefits of Continuing Earned Income
      § 606. Social Security Benefit Calculation - Effect on Benefits of Benefits Being Received by Others
      § 640. Cost-of-Living Adjustments
    • Part 2
      § B 100. Primary Insurance Amount
      § B 150. Full Retirement Age
      § B 200. Cost of Living Adjustment
      § B 300. Excess Earnings Reduction - In General