Social Security Questions? Ask a Social Security Expert
Many people wonder how the SSA figures their Social Security retirement benefit.
The Social Security Administration bases Social Security benefits on your lifetime earnings. They adjust or index your actual earnings to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received.
Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. And after that - they apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit, or primary insurance amount.
This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age. So depending on your earning record - it is possible that there are some missing years or earning.
If so - that could affect your social security benefit calculations and you may contact the Social Security Administration.
Following publication might be helpful for better understanding the calculations
If you work for a federal, state or local government agency, a nonprofit organization or in another country, you may be eligible for a pension based on earnings not covered by Social Security.
A pension based on earnings not covered by Social Security can affect the amount of your Social Security benefit.
Following Windfall Elimination Provision fact sheet explains whether you might be affected.
The Windfall Elimination Provision may affect how the SSA calculates your retirement or disability benefit.
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