Calculating Social Security benefits


Q. My wife wants to retire next year, and she will be 57 in July. Plans on retiring end of March. According to Social Security, her SS benefit at age 62 would be $1,857 a month, but it says it is based on her working until 62 and that she earns $110,000 a year during that time. I can’t find anything about what happens under her scenario of retiring at 56.75 years old. Will her benefit be reduced because she does not work until 62? Her first year with full-time SS contributions was 1983, and her SS earnings were $12,750. Prior to that, she had some on-and-off part-time earnings starting in 1974; not more than $1,200 in any year, and some years were $0.

A. To find out what her Social Security benefit would be using different scenarios, go to and select a calculator that best fits her needs.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

1 Comment

  1. SS is calculated by indexing your earnings and then taking the highest 35 years out of 40, age 22-62 for most people. In the estimate, SS assumes that you will work until age 62. Your benefit will be reduced due to the 5 years of low earnings if you retire at 57.

    The advanced calculator will show the actual impact. You might also be able request an updated estimate from the local SocSec office since retirement is close at hand.

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