Social Security Benefits

Social Security taxes are withheld from your payroll check. LMU pays Social Security taxes as well - you get all the benefits.

Social Security pays benefits that are on average equal to about 40% of what you earned before retirement.

To qualify for retirement benefits, you must have earned the required number of Social Security credits. You need 40 credits to qualify for retirement benefits. - or about 10 years of work.

Choosing when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is an important part of deciding when to retire. If you choose to start receiving benefits when you reach full retirement age, you will receive your full benefit. If you delay your Social Security benefits beyond full retirement age, you can earn credits that increase your monthly benefit by about eight percent for each year you delay claiming, up to age 70. If you start collecting Social Security benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by up to 30 percent, depending on when your benefits start.

If you are under your full retirement age, receiving benefits, and are still working, you can earn $15,720. If your earnings exceed this amount, then $1 of benefits is withheld for every $2 you earn above $15,720. If your earnings exceed this limit, some benefits may still be payable.

If you attain your full retirement age and are still working, you can earn $41,880 in the period before the month in which you attain FRA with no reduction in benefits. If your earnings exceed this amount, then $1 in benefits is withheld for every $3 you earn above $41,880.

You may be able to estimate your benefit by using the retirement estimator on the Social Security Administration website. Click here to access the retirement estimator.

Social Security's full retirement age (FRA) depends on the year in which you were born. Please refer to the chart below:


Full Retirement AgeYear of Birth
65 1937 or earlier
65 and 2 months 1938
65 and 4 months 1939
65 and 6 months 1940
65 and 8 months 1941
65 and 10 months 1942
66 1943
66 1944
66 1945 - 1954
66 and 2 months 1955
66 and 4 months 1956
66 and 6 months 1957
66 and 8 months 1958
66 and 10 months 1959
67 1960
67 1961
67 1961 or later

Before you file for benefits, make sure you have a certified copy of your birth certificate. Social Security cannot use photocopies. If you are filing for benefits based on your spouse's earning record, you may need a certified copy of your marriage certificate. If you are applying for divorced spouse benefits, you will need your divorce decree.

Below is a list of documents you need to file for benefits:

  • Social Security Number
  • Birth Certificate
  • W-2 form
  • Spouse's birth certificate and social security number (if applying for benefits on your work record)
  • Marriage certificate (if signing up on spouse's work record)
  • Military discharge papers if you had military service
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you or family were not born in the U.S.
  • Name of your bank and your account number so your benefits can be directly deposited into your account

When you are ready to apply for retirement benefits or if you have questions, you can:

NOTE: For Social Security and Medicare purposes, you "reach an age" on the day before your birthday. However, if you were born on January 1, you are considered to have been born in the previous year.

The content of this page was found on the Social Security Administration website.