Getting the benefits you deserve

Your benefits depend on several factors

The size of your Social Security benefit will depend on many factors.

How much will you get?

The size of your Social Security basic monthly benefit (what Social Security calls your primary insurance amount, or PIA) will depend on a variety of factors. They range from the number of years you’ve worked to your average earnings over your 35 highest-earning years to when you’ll start collecting the checks.

Generally, you must have paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years to qualify for your own Social Security benefits. But, if you worked a shorter amount of time, you may be able to collect benefits through your spouse, or because you are the surviving dependent parent — age 62 or older — of an adult child entitled to benefits.

Social Security benefits replace about 20% to 30% of preretirement earnings for the average person. But, as your income rises, the benefits replace a progressively smaller percentage, so Social Security might replace just 15% of your preretirement earnings or much less.

An older gentleman, buying produce from a grocer in a market.

When you can collect benefits

You can start collecting Social Security checks as early as age 62. But, if you are age 62 today, the size of the monthly checks will be 25% smaller than if you begin receiving them at what Social Security calls your “full retirement age.”

Your full retirement age is:

  • 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954
  • Between 66 and 67 if you were born between 1955 and 1959
  • 67 if you were born in 1960 or after¹

Visit the Social Security website (ssa.gov) to review your statement and estimate your benefits.

Click the Next button to continue.

¹ Social Security Administration