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Amount of Retirement Insurance Benefit

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

302. Amount of Retirement Insurance Benefit

302.1 How is your retirement insurance benefit amount computed?

The retirement insurance benefit rate is equal to the primary insurance amount, which is the basis for all benefits. In some cases, a special minimum benefit is provided for some individuals as explained in §717. These amounts may be increased by a cost-of-living benefit increase.

(See Chapter 7 for the methods of determining your primary insurance amount and for the effect of delayed retirement credits.)

302.2 Can you receive a reduced benefit before you reach retirement age?

If you wait until retirement age, you will receive the full retirement insurance benefit rate. However, if you are a worker age 62 to retirement age and otherwise eligible for retirement insurance benefits, you can choose to receive a reduced benefit. If you choose to receive and do receive benefits for one or more months before retirement age:

  1. The benefit rate ordinarily received at retirement age is reduced by a certain percentage for each month you were under retirement age when the benefit began, as explained in §§723-724; and

  2. A reduced benefit rate will continue to be paid after you reach retirement age.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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