September 6, 2017

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY | Rock Island, Illinois Office

By Cristina Vital
Social Security Manager
Rock Island Social Security Office

OUR ONLINE ESTIMATES HELP YOU PLAN FOR RETIREMENT AND MORE

Social Security encourages all Americans to take steps toward ensuring their financial security. Wherever you are in life — starting your first job, beginning a family, or getting ready to retire — it’s never too late or too soon to start planning for the years ahead.

We’re here to help, and we offer a suite of online tools you can use to plan for a secure future for you and your family. Your personalized Social Security Statement is among the many resources available to you through your online my Social Security account.

This important planning document allows you to:

  • Verify your lifetime earnings history;
  • Estimate the Social Security benefits you’ll receive at retirement age;
  • See if you qualify to receive disability benefits if you become gravely ill or injured; and
  • Learn how your spouse and children may be provided for when you die.

You can open your own my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Another tool you can use to estimate your possible monthly benefit amount is our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. It shows you how much you may be eligible to receive based on different scenarios, like different future earnings amounts and various retirement dates.

To learn more about your retirement benefits, you can read Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured and
When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits
at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/.

We also encourage you to review the other online benefit estimates available from Social Security, because responsible planning includes contingency plans.

To learn more about the important safety net Social Security provides if you become disabled or die, you can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disability and www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.

Social Security is with you through life’s journey. Get to know us at www.socialsecurity.gov.

LEARNING THE LINGO OF SOCIAL SECURITY

Is Social Security a topic in your conversations these days? Are you familiar with the lingo used to describe Social Security benefits, or does it sound like a new vocabulary to you?

Social Security employees strive to explain benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. But if a technical term or acronym (an abbreviation of the first letters of words in a phrase) that you don’t know slips into the conversation or appears in written material, you can easily find the meaning in our online glossary at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/glossary.

Social Security acronyms function as verbal shorthand in our financial planning conversations. If you’re nearing retirement, you may want to know what PIA (primary insurance amount), FRA (full retirement age), and DRCs (delayed retirement credits) mean. These terms involve your benefit amount based on when you decide to take it.

If you take your retirement benefit at FRA, you’ll receive the full PIA (amount payable for a retired worker who starts benefits at full retirement age). So, FRA is an age and PIA is an amount.

What about DRCs? Delayed retirement credits are the incremental increases added to the PIA if you delay taking retirement benefits beyond your full retirement age. If you wait to begin benefits beyond FRA — say, at age 68 or even 70 — your benefit increases.

Once you receive benefits, you get a COLA most years. But don’t expect a refreshing drink — a COLA is a Cost of Living Adjustment, and that will usually mean a little extra money in your monthly payment.

Knowing some of these terms can help you fine-tune your conversations about Social Security.  If one of those unknown terms or acronyms does come up in conversation, you can be the one to supply the definition using our online glossary. Sometimes learning the lingo can deepen your understanding of how Social Security works for you. Discover more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Filed Under: Family, Finance, Retirement