West Knoxville: 865-357-2288 | North Knoxville: 865-339-4422
Maryville: 865-980-8810 | Tullahoma: 931-222-4800

West Knoxville: 865-357-2288
North Knoxville: 865-339-4422
Maryville: 865-980-8810
Tullahoma: 931-222-4800

Be educated BEFORE you collect!

As we near the age that we can collect Social Security, we must admit that the timing and process of that decision can be a bit daunting.  Understanding its history and some key stipulations will help:

Social Security was initially created as a social insurance program for retired workers. Signed into law in 1934, The Social Security Act allotted for a continuing income after retirement for citizens aged 65 and older. Our nation’s Social Security system has had 8 major overhauls since 1935. The office now encompasses programs to provide unemployment insurance and for those with disabilities as well. As a result, Social Security now affects 90% of all workers (including self-employed); unemployment benefits total 200 million dollars monthly, and 19 million disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits each month. (Specifics on each of these qualifications are available through the Social Security Administration.

Of all the critical amendments to the law over the last 80 years, perhaps the most essential is that Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings. If you have paid taxes for at least 10 years and earned at least 40 hours of work credits, you qualify for benefits that may be collected as early as age 62.   

Work credits are based on total yearly wages, and the dollar amount needed to earn those credits changes yearly. In 2023, individuals earn 1 credit for each $1,640 of earnings, up to the maximum of 4 credits per year. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase. The credits one earns remain on his record even if he changes jobs or has no earnings for a while.

There are special Social Security adjustments and requirements for those who are self-employed, in the military, or qualify for disability. Above are the general work credit requirements and do not consider those stipulations.  However, all the specifics of earning credits in those instances is provided online here

 Now, just because one qualifies to start collecting Social Security does not mean it is in his best interest to do so. The benefits can be deferred until age 70, and there are some monetary advantages that serve as an incentive to deferring. Once Social Security benefits are claimed, an individual receives a monthly amount that increases annually with a cost-of-living adjustment. This payment continues for the rest of the life of the beneficiary. The longer one defers payment, the higher that base monthly payment will be and will be adjusted annually from there. For example, the AARP reports that in 2022 Social Security recipients at age 62 received an average $1688 a month.  In 2023 that average amount is $1,888 a month (or an additional $2,400 dollars a year.).

 Our nation’s Social Security system provides over 1 billion dollars a month to retired workers, their dependents, widows, orphans, and parents of deceased workers. Perhaps the greatest transformation of this system is the truth of all government agencies…it is now all available online. To create your account, click here and explore for yourself the best time for you and your loved ones to start collecting.