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Martha Shedden is RSSA’s President and Co-Founder. Read Martha’s responses to questions regarding Social Security. View all questions or browse by category. Submit your own question to Martha here.

What is the average monthly Social Security benefit?

Hi, This year’s (2020) average monthly benefit is $1,503. Last year’s (2019) monthly benefit was $1,461. Back in 1960, the average benefit was approximately $80 per month! Take care, Martha Do you have a question about Social Security? Ask Martha your own question here.

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When is the best time to set up a My Social Security account?

Hi, My suggestion is to create one today! It is quick, easy, and free to create a My Social Security account. Plus, the information your account provides is valuable and will likely save you time from having to call or visit a Social Security office to find the same information. Whether you are or are…

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How do I qualify for benefits? What do I need in order to be eligible to receive Social Security?

Hello, To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must first be a U.S. citizen or lawfully living in the United States. Then, you must have earned a total of 40 or more “credits.” These credits are legally known as Quarters of Coverage. A credit is the basic unit to determine whether one is insured under…

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Can I file for spousal benefits now and my retirement benefits later?

Hello, If you were born in 1953 or earlier, then yes you may. This is a couple’s filing strategy known as filing a restricted application and it is in the process of being phased out by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The name comes from the fact that a person restricts their application to…

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I think I made a mistake by claiming Social Security at age 62. Can I change my mind?

Hi there, Yes, you can change your mind, and this is known as withdrawing your application. You can reapply later. If you change your mind about starting your benefits, you can cancel your application for up to 12 months after becoming entitled to retirement benefits. If you are already entitled to Medicare, you may choose to…

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I want to retire next year, but I have only worked for 29 years. How will this impact my benefits?

Hi there, The Social Security Administration uses your highest 35 years of earnings, after adjusting for inflation, to calculate your benefit amount. If you do not have 35 years of earnings, zeros will be used for the years with no earnings. This is not uncommon at all. In your case, you will have 6 years…

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