5 Key Things to Know About Social Security

Social Security is an integral component of your life. It’s a cushion for your retirement, and it can provide financial protection in case of disability. However, there are various aspects of social security that many people just don’t know about.

So, here are 5 key things about social security that you should know, especially before applying for your social security card, as it will help guide your decision making:

  • You’ll Get Maximum Benefits If You Wait Until You Attain Full Retirement Age

While you can start receiving your social security (SS) payments when you’re 62, your benefits could drop by 20 to 30%. That’s a significant amount of money, especially if you are planning to spend many years in retirement.

With that in mind, you should consider the difference between working until your full retirement age and depending on your retirement savings to help finance your life until you can receive full benefits.

  • Your Benefit is Calculated Using a 35-year Average of Your Earnings

If you’ve been gainfully employed for less than 35 years, the Social Security benefit formula plugs in zero for those years you haven’t worked and still averages your earnings over 35 years. Therefore, you can maximize your SS income by making sure you pay into the system for at least 35 years.

If you’ve earned income for over 35 years, social security selects the highest 35 years to give you the maximum average earnings amount.

  • Your Family Can Receive Extra Benefits if You’re Married or Have Dependent Kids

You should realize that each member of a married couple will receive retirement payments. It doesn’t matter if one partner was never gainfully employed.

Also, dependent children and grandchildren aged 18 and below will receive an additional benefit. It doesn’t matter whether he/she is your biological child, stepchild, or adopted child.

  • You May Receive Disability Benefits If You Become Physically Or Mentally Incapacitated

If you develop a physical or mental impairment that could potentially prevent you from engaging in gainful work for at least a year, you could be eligible for disability payments.

If you become disabled, your social security statement will list an approximation of your monthly payments. It’s worth noting, however, that you may be required to provide a document proving your condition and why your condition prevents you from working.

  • Your Family May Receive Some Benefits if You Pass Away

Social Security also serves as life insurance for workers who pass away prematurely. School-going children aged 19 and below, disabled children, and a spouse taking care of children aged 16 and below will each qualify for monthly payments from Social Security.

The amount each beneficiary receives will depend on the maximum amount your whole family is entitled to. There will be a list in your social security statement describing how much each member of your family is likely to receive if you pass away.


Social Security is the largest retirement plan in the United States, and millions of American senior citizens receive their retirement benefits from SS every year. To make informed decisions about your Social Security, you should know some key things about it as outlined above.


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Written by Addie Davison

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