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2022 Benefit Amount

I'm new at this. Turned 70 late last year, still working full time. No Medicare (have employer benefits). I did my homework beforehand, calculated what my benefit should be, and came up with the same number that SSA did. When they announced the 2022 benefit, I recalculated and again came up with the same number they did. I received a small deposit from SSA a week ago, which appears to be a catch-up payment for February and March because my monthly payments are still based on my 2021 figure. But the monthly benefit is now greater than the 2022 benefit I originally calculated (and SSA also calculated) late last year). With a lot of googling, I have seen references on the SSA site and other sites, to an additional increase for 2022. Lots of references to "Up to $200." But nothing explains how or why this increase happened or how to calculate the new amount. Using what information I do have, I suspect I am not being paid enough. I don't want to call SSA just yet, because I can't point to any SSA document that gives the exact numbers and formulas. Also, I have a hard time believing that they miscalculated only my benefits. If there is an error, it must be affecting thousands of people, and I would expect someone must have brought it to their attention.

I've read that when there are unscheduled changes to benefits, it sometimes takes SSA a few weeks to put out information about the change, even after they have sent out the additional payments. Since I'm working full (very full) time, I don't have time to visit an office or spend hours on hold on the phone. So for now, I'm turning to the wisdom of this community. Should I wait a while for more information or a correction, or should I contact them now?

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Conversationalist

When they calculate your benefit they use the top 35 years (some are adjusted for inflation).  When they calculated your 2022 they may not have included your earnings for 2021 and that might be one of your 35 top earning years.  

 

My husband stated to collect at 70 and was still working full time.  Shortly after his first couple of payments he received a small deposit into his checking account.  Later that year he received another small deposit.  Then after a month into the next year he received another small deposit. 

 

All of these were due to recalculating his benefit because these years being in his top 35.  I don't know if that is the case with you, but it is a good chance that it is.  By the way I was collecting as a spouse on his work record and I too received small deposits each time he did. 

 

They recalculate your full retirement benefit.  Then since you didn't collect until age 70 you get a 8% increase for each year up until age 70.  For us that was 32%.  Every dollar extra on the full retirement benefit resulted in $1.32 increase in our benefit received now.  We didn't have this happen this year since he retired and made very little last year.

Gold Conversationalist

This is interesting and I am anxious to see what unfolds in this thread. I wasn't aware of anything other than the 5.9% COLA.

I was just reading (and commenting in) another thread here about "What will next year's COLA be for SS" (https://community.aarp.org/t5/Social-Security/What-will-next-year-s-COLA-be-for-SS/td-p/2447170

 

I "Googled" for the extra $200 SS benefit. One of the articles I found mentioning this was at GOBankingRates.com (article was later posted at yahoo!finance) (https://www.gobankingrates.com/retirement/social-security/which-social-security-recipients-will-get-...). The article title "Which Social Security Recipients Will Get an Extra $200 in January?"

 

Well, I read the entire article and find that there is no particular $200 extra benefit. What the author states is "While each person’s Social Security benefit will depend on their earnings and amount of years worked, there is a small group who will be receiving an extra $200 or more per month in their benefit check." Sounds good, eh!? Someone's going to get an extra 200 bucks!

 

The paragraph goes on to state " In order for a 5.9% increase to result in an extra $200 per month in benefits, you would have needed to have received at least $3,389 per month in 2021"

 

What?!

 

There is no "extra" $200 SS benefit. All the author is saying is that if your SS benefit is at least $3,389 per month then your 5.9% COLA will be at least $200 per month. I checked the arithmetic and it's accurate.

 

Remember the movie "Christmas Story"? Ralphie is so excited to get his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder, then listens to the radio message and heads to decrypt the message. Which turns out to be "Eat More Ovaltine". Ralphie is so fed up with disgust. And that's how we've been treated by the author of this article. It's a meaningless headline and meaningless information. Meant only to be clickbait.

 

I want to point out that the same author breathlessly reveals that for 2022 "the highest COLA ever will be applied to benefits, with a 5.9% increase to account for rampant and sudden inflation during the pandemic." Even this is not true. The highest COLAs were 14.3% in 1980 and 11.2% in 1981. Several other years had COLAs larger than 5.9%.

 

I'd seen similar headlines for a few months now, about SS giving an extra $200 a month! I didn't pay attention to those headlines but now I realize "clickbait", that's all they were. Sadly, the author of this article seems to have some impressive credentials "Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo." Sounds impressive to me. I wonder why she's sunk to writing clickbait.

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