Retirement Programs

 

Social Security deductions (FICA and Medicare) are made from your paycheck. These taxes, plus an equal amount contributed by the College, are sent to the Social Security Administration to help provide for your retirement. The Federal Government administers the Social Security program to help employees prepare for their retirement years. Any Social Security benefit you receive is in addition to your benefits from PERF, AUL or TIAA/CREF.

Eligibility

  Your eligibility for Social Security benefits depends on how long you have been employed at jobs in which you paid FICA taxes-in other words, how much time you have spent in positions "covered" by Social Security deductions. In general, if you have 40 "quarters" of coverage, you are considered to be fully insured and may be entitled to receive a partial benefit as early as age 62. You can earn up to four quarters of coverage every year, up to a maximum of 40 quarters. You earn a quarter of coverage by earning a stated amount of wages covered by Social Security deductions. This amount is adjusted by the Social Security Administration to reflect increases in national wages.

Earnings Record

  There is a limit on the amount of your salary that the Social Security Administration may tax each year. This means that there is a maximum amount that you can contribute through FICA taxes. Your benefit depends on how much money you earned which was taxed by Social Security. This amount is known as your earnings record. Your earnings record determines the amounts of the various benefits you can receive.

Retirement

 

Because of longer life expectations, the Social Security law was changed to increase the full retirement age in gradual steps until it reaches age 67. This change affects people born in 1938 and later. It is possible, however, for you to begin receiving a reduced benefit at age 62, depending on your circumstances. Monthly benefits received at age 62 would be lower than those given at the age of full retirement to allow for the extra years of payment. You can also postpone the start of your benefits until age 70. In this case, your monthly benefits would be greater, since payments will be distributed over a shorter period of time than they would have been if you had retired at the age of full retirement for you.

The chart below shows the age at which you may receive full Social Security benefits, depending upon the year in which you were born.

 

 

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

 

Other Social Security Benefits

  In addition to the benefits you receive from Social Security, there are certain benefits available for eligible dependents. If you are age 65 or over and are receiving benefits, your spouse may be eligible for his or her own benefit, based on a percentage of your payment. Your unmarried, dependent children and certain adult, disabled children may also be entitled to certain benefits based on your Social Security earnings. There are also benefits available in the event of your death or disability. Eligibility for these additional benefits may depend on your age and quarters of coverage.

Applying for Benefits

  The Social Security Administration recommends that you apply for benefits three months prior to your retirement. This gives the government time to process your application. A nice feature of your Social Security benefit is that you may ask that your monthly check be deposited directly into your bank account. This is a secure and simple way to receive your money.
   
This is just a brief outline of some aspects of your Social Security benefit. Available benefits and required quarters can vary greatly, depending on your age, the ages of your dependents, your periods of employment and your earnings record. For more information, you may contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or online at www.ssa.gov.
 
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