Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceTaxesUnited States · 1 month ago

Social security benefits what determines the amount ?

Is it the length of time worked say I work 20 years and my brother works 35 years.  Is it the amount of money made. I work a minimum wage job 20 years I only get an increase is when minimum wage goes up.  My brother works a job that pays double minimum wage. So is it the amount of money, time worked or both that determines the amount of social security I will receive at full retirement age. 

4 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    The time does not matter.  It is only the amount of money.

  • 1 month ago

    Your basic benefit is your average indexed monthly earnings over your highest 35 years.  If you work for 20 you will have 15 years of zero in the equation.  Indexed earnings are what you earned with something resembling a COLA added to make them like you earned them now.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It is based on your lifetime earnings.  So it is more based on time, but also on pay.

  • 1 month ago


    When you retire the social security administration takes your entire work history and does the following:

    1. they take your taxable earnings from each year and adjust them for inflation to determine the equivalent amount in the current year's dollars.

    2. They take the highest 35 years worth of earnings and average them together to get an average annual earnings value

    Note - if you have not worked at least 35 years then they use $0 for the missing years. For example in your case if you have only worked 20 years when you reach retirement age, they will use 15 years worth of $0 earnings, which will drastically pull down your average.

    3. Then there's a calculation to convert your average earnings to a monthly benefit amount

    4. Then there's another calculation to adjust your monthly benefit based on your age and whether you're drawing benefits early or late.

    So your brother would get a much larger monthly benefit. Both the number of years worked and the amount he earned will be major factors in that calculation. If you retire with only 20 years of minimum wage work your monthly benefit will probably be only a few hundred dollars per month.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.