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dylatess
dylatess, ATTORNEY
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3427
Experience:  37 plus years of SSD practice
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Why are my spouse and my benefits so low when my earnings

Customer Question

Why are my spouse and my benefits so low when my earnings have increased greatly from 1980 on.I am still working after I filed in 2011. Judson N Brown
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 1 month ago.

Hi Judson. My name's Lane. I can help you understand how things work.

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Social Security is complicated ... First its important to understand that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses something called Averaged Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) to calculate your benefit.

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AIME starts with your highest 35 years of earnings, average them, and then brings them all to today's dollars.

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So, adding one more year to that average can do anything from (1) nothing (becasue it;s not that much higher than all those other years after they've inflated them (indexed them to current dollars), to (2) replace a zero in the average, if you don't have 35 years under the system yet, to (3) help somewhat, if your earnings are HUGELY higher now than before.

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If you can tell more more about your earnings history, whether you started taking early (prior to full retirement age - 66 for those born 1953 or before), and whether you may be working while not YET 66 - which almost ALWAYS causes a reduction in benefits until you DO reach Full Retirement Age,... I can give you a much more specific answer

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An if you like I can offer a phone consult to talk this through (lots to talk about here)

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let me know ... I'll be here

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Lane

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I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, a Master’s Degree, with specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you Lane,I go back to 1964 but from 1980 on my earnings increased by 15,000 on average annually. I plan to also visit my SSA office on the Oct. 27 with my earnings record from 1964 to present. Judson
Expert:  Lane replied 1 month ago.

Judson, If you'll go here: https://www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html (If you can get through the identity checking) you can get your retirement projections (but this is likely the same as what you received from them)

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HERE's a place where you can go to enter all of your earnings to get a reality check (see if maybe what they have in the system isn't correct): https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/AnypiaApplet.html

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