Social Security and Retirement Resources

Consider your Social Security retirement benefits a supplement to your retirement income. Don't count on your monthly benefit as your sole source of income after you retire. For other sources of retirement income, you should contribute to a retirement plan, like an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You may also want to increase your contributions if you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Read on for resources and information about Social Security benefits and retirement plans. You will also find budgeting resources to make your money work for you.

For more information, see FindLaw's Retirement Planning and Social Security Basics sections. The more knowledge you have, the better you can plan for retirement.

Social Security Resources

Social Security is a federal insurance program that provides benefits to retirees. It also provides benefits to disabled individuals who can't work. It pays spousal and survivor benefits to family members, too. Your Social Security taxes fund the program.

The government bases your retirement eligibility on your yearly earnings record. The Social Security Administration (SSA) converts these earnings into retirement credits. The SSA then applies a formula based on your lifetime earnings and age. This formula determines your total monthly Social Security benefit amount.

You can wait until full retirement age to collect 100% of your benefits. Your other option is to retire early, reducing your benefit amount. If your income exceeds a certain amount, you may have to pay federal income taxes on your benefits.

The following resources can help you better understand Social Security programs and benefits:

  • Social Security Online: The SSA's site is your one-stop shop for official information about SSA programs and services. Here, you can check your program eligibility and apply for benefits. You can also check the status of submitted claims.
  • Multilingual Social Security Information: A multilingual gateway to
  • The Social Security Handbook: A comprehensive guide to the Social Security system. You can learn about enrollment in medical insurance like Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Social Security Benefits Calculators: Online calculators to estimate your monthly payments. You can find a quick calculator for rough estimates of retirement benefits. There is also a detailed calculator for more precise estimates.
  • Understanding the Benefits: A description of Social Security programs and benefits. You can learn how to apply for a personal online Social Security account.
  • AARP Social Security Center: Discover facts, issues, and challenges about Social Security programs.
  • The National Council on Aging identifies assistance programs for older Americans.

Retirement Plans and Pensions Resources

There are many options for retirement savings accounts. These include employer-sponsored pensions and 401(k) plans (including Roth accounts). Other options include annuities and IRAs.

Each retirement savings plan has different tax benefits. Such benefits include tax-deferred growth or matching contributions. The resources below can help you better understand retirement plans and accounts.

  • Employee Benefits Security Administration: Education for the public on government health and retirement programs.
  • Understanding Retirement Accounts: This site features educational articles on retirement-related topics. Topics include borrowing from a 401(k) and consolidating retirement accounts.
  • Types of Retirement Plans: IRS tax rules and information on retirement plans. You can learn about retirement plan tax penalties. You can also learn about the rules of required minimum distributions and more.
  • Retirement Planning Basics: This site includes an introduction to retirement planning. You can read about how to save for retirement. You can also read about the best places to retire on Earth and Roth IRAs for Americans abroad.

Budgeting Resources

You'll want to make smart financial choices to make the most out of your retirement income. Here are some helpful resources on budgeting, finding discounts, and other money-related matters:

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Provides consumer education and resources for informed financial decision-making. You can learn about budgeting and lump-sum pension payouts.
  • Kiplinger: Provides links to find bargains online. These sites will help you find travel deals, free shipping codes, and more.
  • AARP: This nonprofit organization offers information on topics related to aging and money. You can find articles on grocery coupons and ways to save.
  • U.S. Department of Labor: Search the Workers Owed Wages database to see if someone owes you back wages. You can submit a claim if you are due money.
  • A government website to help you identify and apply for government programs. These programs may help you pay for some of your needs, including health care and health coverage.

Getting Legal Help

The rules of Social Security programs and retirement accounts can be complex and confusing. You may want expert advice to develop a comprehensive retirement plan. A Social Security and retirement attorney can help you understand your retirement options. With the help of a professional, you can live well for the rest of your life.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • The initial Social Security process doesn’t require an attorney
  • An attorney primarily handles claims that are denied
  • It can be helpful to have an attorney during Social Security benefit disputes or appeals

A Social Security lawyer can help protect your rights to your benefits.

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Don’t Forget About Estate Planning

Now is a great time to consider creating or revising your estate plan. Protect your assets through a will, decide who can make financial decisions for you through a power of attorney, and ensure you make important health care decisions through a health care directive. You can create these critical documents online using DIY estate planning forms.

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