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Justin Anderson & Bibi Taylor: Calculating Your Maximum Social Security Benefit

And does collecting unemployment affect the benefit amount?

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series of Social Security-related columns by Ameriflex representatives. Click here for a related article.]

Q. As I long as I have worked 10 years and have the required 40 credits, will I receive the maximum amount of benefits when I retire? — Donna

A. Donna, the 40 credits are the requirement to receive benefits. However, it does not determine the amount of your benefit. The benefit amount is determined by applying a formula to your 35 highest-earning years after age 21. The more you earn, the higher your average will be, which ultimately will affect your benefit amount.

The Social Security Administration Web site has several options to calculate your benefit amounts. Click here. It’s important to keep in mind that changes to the level of earnings — up or down — will affect your benefit in the years leading up to full retirement age.

Q. I am approaching retirement and will begin collecting Social Security. For the last several months, I have been collecting unemployment. Will this affect my Social Security? — Doug

A. If you were currently receiving your Social Security benefit, the benefit would not be affected by the unemployment benefit you are receiving. However, your unemployment amount could be affected by your Social Security benefit as it is considered income.

Readers: Email your Social Security questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Justin Anderson, CFP, CRC, CLU, is a financial planner and Bibi Taylor, MBA, is the Social Security project coordinator at AmeriFlex, 3700 State St., Suite 310, in Santa Barbara. Call 805.898.0893 for more information. Financial advisors and registered representatives associated with AmeriFlex Financial Services offer securities and advisory services through SagePoint Financial Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through AmeriFlex Financial Services, which is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial Inc. or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MI, MO, NC, ND, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, PR, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI.

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