Social Security Income Questions

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    What are the Age Requirements for Retirement Income?

    • As of 2010, individuals may apply for reduced Social Security retirement income at age 62. Anyone born in 1937 or earlier can receive full benefits at 65 years of age. Individuals born after 1937 have to wait an additional two months for each year they were born thereafter. For example, someone born in 1956 would be eligible for full benefits at 66 and 4 months of age. The age cap for eligibility for full benefits is 67 years for anyone born in 1960 or later.

    Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Social Security Income?

    • As of 2010, if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your combined income is $25,000 to $34,000, you may have to pay federal income taxes on 50 percent of your social security benefits. If you and your spouse have a combined income that is more than $44,000 and you are filing a joint return, you may have to pay federal income taxes on up to 85 percent of your social security benefits.

      Combined income describes other sources of income in addition to your social security benefits. It can include wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income reported on your federal tax return. Supplemental Security Income payments are not taxable. These are payments made by the Social Security Administration to individuals 65 years of age and over with low income or resources. The blind and disabled may also qualify for SSI benefits.

    Can I Collect Social Security Income based on my Spouse's Eligibility?

    • When you apply for reduced or early retirement benefits, the SSA checks to see if you are eligible for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse. The SSA will always pay your own benefits first. If you are due additional benefits, you will receive a benefit combination equaling the higher spouse's benefit.

      An individual may also receive social security benefits on an ex-spouse's record. If you are 62 years of age or older, you may qualify for benefits on your former spouse's record if you meet all of the following conditions: the marriage lasted at least 10 years; you are currently not married; your ex-spouse is entitled to benefits. If the ex-spouse is not entitled to benefits, you may still be eligible if: the marriage lasted at least 10 years; you are currently not married; your ex-spouse is at least 62 years of age; you have been divorced for at least 2 years.

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