On Wednesday, the final round of this month’s three Social Security payments, worth up to $4,555, will be transferred to retirees, according to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) schedule (pdf).
Social Security payments are always sent out on the second, third, and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
Payments are spread according to the recipient’s date of birth, with the payment on the month’s first Wednesday going to people born in the first ten days of the month, the second Wednesday payment goes to those born from the 11th to the 20th, and the third payment for those born after the 20th.
The amount of money each recipient gets varies, depending on his or her age at retirement. Recipients who retired at 62 get a maximum benefit check of $2,572; those who retired at 67 can receive up to $3,627 at most. Those who delay retirement until age 70 get the highest payment of $4,555 per month, according to the SSA website.
The current “Normal Retirement Age” (NRA) in the United States is 67 and is a little shorter for those born before 1960, depending upon their precise year of birth. Retiring before the NRA will reduce SSA benefits, while retirement after NRA increases benefits.
In practice, the average retirement age for men across the United States has increased from 62 in 1992 to 65 in 2021, according to the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. Women’s average retirement age has increased in lockstep, from 59 in 1992 to 62 in 2021.
The average pension age varies across the states, with the District of Columbia having the highest average age at 67, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, and South Dakota at 66 years of age, according to a survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau. Alaska and West Virginia share the lowest average retirement age of 61.
In a recent public announcement, the SSA sounded the alarm that the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund’s reserves will be depleted by 2033 if no corrective measures are applied. After that, the SSA will be able to pay only 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
The statement also warned that Medicare will guarantee benefits until 2031—three years later than reported last year—after which it can cover only 89 percent of scheduled benefits.
The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund should be good until the end of the century, the SSA said.
The aging of the population is putting pressure on pension systems across the world, with many European countries raising or considering raising their retirement ages, sparking enduring protests in France.
In February, a message circulated on social media claiming that 156 House Republicans voted to raise the Social Security age to 70, but this turned out to be largely false: such a budget plan had indeed been drawn up, but it was only signed by 16 House Republicans and was never voted on.
Meanwhile, Congress is clashing with the Biden administration’s decision to tie pension investments to climate and social justice agenda.