More Social Security Q&A

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social security

Question: I am 66 years old and have stopped working. What factors affect my retirement benefit amount?  

Answer: You’re eligible to get Medicare at age 65 and the sign-up process for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) is completed through us. If you decide to sign up for Part B, the cost will be taken out of your monthly benefit amount. Be sure to plan ahead for that reduction. 

Question: How can I pay withholding taxes from benefit payments? 

Answer: You may pay federal income taxes on your benefits if your combined income (50% of your benefit amount plus any other earned income) exceeds $25,000/year filing individually or $32,000/year filing jointly. You can pay the IRS directly or have taxes withheld from your payment. The form is called W-4V: Voluntary Withholding Request from the IRS’s website.  

Related: Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and Social Security Benefits 

Question: Am I able to receive the maximum amount of benefits due a current or former spouse’s work?  

Answer: If you’re eligible because of a spouse’s work, the amount is at its highest at your “Full Retirement Age” (between 66 and 67). It doesn’t increase if you wait and apply after that time. If your spouse has passed away, you may be eligible for Survivor benefits starting at age 60, or at age 50 if you are disabled. 

Question: I receive a pension from a previous government job and also worked in a foreign country, can my benefit amount may be reduced? 

Answer: If your pension is from a government job or a job worked in a foreign country, and you have not paid Social Security taxes for at least 30 years of Substantial Earnings, your benefit may be reduced. We refer to this reduction as the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP (link opens a PDF document).