Receiving military pension won’t reduce Social Security allotment

Question: I served in the military, and I’ll receive a military

pension when I retire. Will that affect my Social Security benefits?

Answer: You can get both Social Security retirement benefits and military retirement at the same time.

Generally, we don’t reduce your Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, go to www.socialsecurity

.gov/applyonline.

This is the fastest and easiest way to apply.

For your convenience, you can always save your progress during your application and complete it later. And thank you for your military service.

Question: How are my retirement benefits calculated?

Answer: Your Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over your lifetime.

Your actual earnings are first adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit.

This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age. You may be able to estimate your benefit by using our Retirement Estimator which offers estimates based on your Social Security earnings. You can find the Retirement Estimator at www.social security.gov/estimator.

Question: I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also be going up by two years, from age 62 to 64?

Answer: No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, the “early” retirement age remains at 62.

Keep in mind, however, that taking early retirement reduces your benefit amount. For more information about Social Security benefits, visit the website at www.socialsecurity.

gov/r&m1.htm.

Question: I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several different ages. Is there a way to do that?

Answer: Use our Retirement Estimatorat www.socialsecurity.gov/ estimator to get an instant, personalized retirement benefit estimate based on current law and your earnings record.

The Retirement Esti­mator, which also is available in Spanish, lets you create additional “what if” retirement scenarios based on different income levels and “stop work” ages.

Question: Why doesn’t my estimate using the Retirement Estimator take into account my work as a teacher? I’ve worked for 20 years for the state and thought it would count.

Answer: If you work for a state or local government agency — including a school system, college or university — your earnings may not be covered by Social Security.

If you are covered only by your state or local pension plan and you don’t pay Social Security taxes, your earnings won’t be shown on your Social Security record. (Your record will show your Medicare wages if you pay into that program.) For information on how your pension from non-covered state or local employment may affect the amount of your Social Security benefit, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ retire2/wep-chart.htm.

Question: My father receives Social Security retirement benefits, and I will be in charge of his estate when he dies. Should that occur, do I need to report his death to Social Security or will benefits automatically stop?

Answer: When your father dies, please notify Social Security as soon as possible by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Another person, such as a spouse, may be eligible for survivors benefits based on his record.

Also, we might be able to pay a one-time payment of $255 to help with funeral expenses.

We suggest reading a copy of our online publication, “How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies,” at www.socialsecurity.gov/ pubs/10008.html.

Jeffrey M. Bettwy is the Social Security district manager in Altoona.