Social Security Options to Help You Maximize Your Benefits

Aaron Ammerman |

Are you eligible for Social Security distributions?  To be eligible for Social Security, you must have at least 40 quarters of wages that were subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  These 40 quarters do not need to be consecutive. 

How are your benefits calculated?  Your benefits are calculated based on the average of your 35 highest years of earnings. 

What is Full Retirement Age (FRA) and what is yours?  Full Retirement Age is the age when you may receive your full Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). If you collect Social Security before your Full Retirement Age, then you will receive reduced benefits.  Waiting until you are closer to Full Retirement Age may have its benefits.  These benefits can amount to 8% per year.

  • If you were born between 1943 and 1954 then your FRA is 66.  
  • If you were born in 1955 then your FRA is 66 and 2 months.  
  • If you were born in 1956 then your FRA is 66 and 4 months.  
  • If you were born in 1957 then your FRA is 66 and 6 months.  
  • If you were born in 1958 then your FRA is 66 and 8 months.  
  • If you were born in 1959 then your FRA is 66 and 10 months.  
  • If you were born in 1960 or after, then your FRA is 70.  

What is your full Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)?  Your PIA includes your earnings, the number of years you worked, and your age.

What age should I expect to live to?  Thankfully, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has risen dramatically since 1960.  In 1960, the life expectancy for men was 66 and the life expectancy for women was 73. In 2020, the life expectancy for men was 84 and the life expectancy for women was 87.  This means that you could spend more than 20 years of your life in retirement!

Click on the Fidelity PDF below to continue reading about how you can optimize your Social Security benefits!

Social Security