The Essentials of Understanding Social Security Benefits

You will find Social Security in the Retirement Planning section of the Universe of Financial Planning as a single item under Supplemental Benefits.  Although it is only one item among over 150, it is one of the foundations of retirement income planning that is surrounded with complexities and rule sets that almost defy description. To explain all the rules to Social Security staff member, the Program Operations Manual (POMS) includes over 20,000 pages.

REDW Wealth Senior Financial Planner David Cechanowicz JD, MSFS, EA, AEP®, CLU®, CHFC®, a nationally recognized expert on claiming Social Security retirement benefits, answers your questions in this hands-on video series Social Security Basics, addressing topics such as:

To become eligible for social security benefits, you must work with an employer who participates in the Social Security system under covered employment. You become eligible once you have acquired sufficient work credits, generally equivalent to 10 years of employment.

Some government entities may elect not to participate in the Social Security system. Those employees, like school teachers, firefighters, and police officers, are often covered or are eligible for a government pension or another benefit.

17 Factors to Consider Consider When Claiming Social Security

Before 2022 credits were based on quarters of work; now, credits are based upon the amount of money you earn in a year. One 2022 credit equals $1,510 in earnings, and forty credits of work are required to be eligible for Social Security and Medicare. You can earn a maximum of four credits in a year, and each year, the earnings amount changes.

In this hands-on video series, “Understanding Social Security,” Senior Financial Planner David Cechanowicz, guides you through the “primary insurance amount” bend points, how it’s computed in determining your social security retirement benefit, and why. He will also walk you through when the PIA is calculated and why it’s such a pivotal number in the social security system.