You will have to pay federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income of more than $32,000.1
Social Security has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefit. Many states and local authorities do not tax Social Security benefits.1
You can check the status of your application online.
If anything prevents you from checking your application status online, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The maximum benefit depends on the age a worker chooses to retire. For example, for a worker retiring at full retirement age (FRA) in 2021, the amount is $3,011.00. This figure is based on earnings at the maximum taxable amount for every year after age 21.1
The amount you can earn while receiving Social Security depends on your age. Your earnings in (and after) the month you reach full retirement age will not affect your Social Security benefits. However, your benefit is reduced if your earnings exceed certain limits for the months before you reach your full retirement age.
If you are under full retirement age for the entire year:
In the year you reach full retirement age:
A person can receive benefits as a divorced spouse on a former spouse’s Social Security record if he or she:
In addition, the former spouse must be entitled to receive his or her own retirement or disability benefit. If the former spouse is eligible for a benefit, but has not yet applied for it, the divorced spouse can still receive a benefit if he or she meets the eligibility requirements above and has been divorced from the former spouse for at least two continuous years.
Generally, the Administration cannot pay benefits if the divorced spouse remarries someone other than the former spouse, unless the latter marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment), or the marriage is to a person entitled to certain types of Social Security auxiliary or survivor’s benefits.
A person can receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse on the Social Security record of a former spouse who died fully insured, if he or she:
If the surviving divorced spouse age 60 or over applying for benefits remarried after age 60, or after age 50 and at the time of remarriage was entitled to disability benefits, the Administration disregards the marriage. If a person is already entitled to benefits as an aged or disabled surviving divorced spouse and remarries, benefits continue regardless of the person’s age at the time of remarriage.1
The benefits paid to a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit amount paid to other family members who receive benefits on the same record.1
You can get the address and directions to your nearest office from the Social Security Office Locator that is available on the Internet.
A spouse receives one-half of the retired worker’s full benefit unless the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age. If the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age, the amount of the spouse’s benefit is reduced by a percentage based on the number of months before he/she reaches full retirement age.1
For example, based on the full retirement age of 66, if a spouse begins collecting benefits:
However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receives Social Security benefits, a spouse will get full benefits, regardless of age.
If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, the Administration will always pay you benefits based on your record first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse’s benefits.
You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits when you are at least 61 years and 9 months of age and want your benefits to start in the next three months.1 Even if you are not ready to retire, you still should sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
Report the death by calling toll free, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), 8:00 a.m. to 5:307:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please have the deceased person’s Social Security number when you call.2
In addition to reporting the death to Social Security, you should:
*Do not cash any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or any checks received thereafter. Return any un-cashed checks to your local field office.
If your pension is from work where you paid Social Security taxes, it will not likely affect the amount of your Social Security benefit. However, if any part of your pension is from work where you did not pay Social Security taxes, it could affect the amount of your Social Security benefit.1
A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies, such as police officers and some teachers) may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefit can be reduced based on one of two provisions:1
1. Laurence Kotlikoff. “Home.” Laurence Kotlikoff, 14 June 2021, kotlikoff.net/.