Social Security benefits are part of the retirement plan of almost every American worker. If you’re among the many people covered under Social Security, you should know what your future benefit may be. These monthly payments may be a vital part of your retirement income.

We base your benefit payment on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years you didn’t work or had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had worked steadily. Even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get your spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years old and your spouse receives retirement or disability benefits.

Our online retirement portal at ssa.gov/retirement is a great place to start mapping out your retirement plan. There, we provide important information that you should know. For example, have you considered:

• When you should apply to start retirement benefits?

• What documents you need to provide?

• Which factors may affect your retirement benefits?

• What you should remember to do after you apply for retirement benefits?

You can use your personal my Social Security account at ssa.gov/myaccount to get an instant estimate of your future retirement benefits. You can also see the effects of starting your retirement benefits at different ages.

Benefits for family members may also be important to you. When you start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. You can learn more at ssa.gov/benefits. Please share this information with family and friends to help them prepare for retirement.

Five ways ssa.gov can save you time

The Social Security Administration’s online tools and services save you time and make your life easier. Often, there’s no need to contact us. Here are five of our webpages that can make your life easier:

1. With your own personal my Social Security account, you can request a replacement Social Security card, verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, obtain benefit verification letters and more at ssa.gov/myaccount.

2. Need answers to your Social Security-related questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page at ssa.gov/faq.

3. You can complete and submit your online application for retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes at ssa.gov/benefits/retirement.

4. Access our publications library with online booklets and pamphlets, including audio versions, on key subjects at ssa.gov/pubs.

5. Check out our blog for Social Security news and updates at https://blog.ssa.gov.

Please share these pages with your friends and family.

Nilsa Henriquez is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist located in Queens.

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