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The Top 25 Social Security Questions, Answered

Not the top 5, or even the top 10 -- but AARP has compiled a whopping 25 of the most frequently asked questions by members. It's no news that Social Security benefits can be really confusing when you're trying to get your finances in order after retirement, so this can serve as a really useful guide when doing that. Here are a few questions to get you started:
Q: How is my Social Security benefit calculated?
A: Benefits are based on the amount of money you earned during your lifetime - with an emphasis on the 35 years in which you earned the most. Plus, lower-paid workers get a bigger percentage of their preretirement income than higher-paid workers. In 2010, the average monthly benefit for retirees is $1,172.
Q: Why won't retirees get a cost-of-living adjustment for 2011? Many of us count on this for food, medicine and other bills.
A: COLAs are based on the consumer price index, which tracks inflation. Because inflation has been flat, according to the CPI, there will be no benefit increase -- for the second year in a row. AARP is calling on Congress to provide beneficiaries with financial relief.
Q: I am 56 and receive Social Security disability benefits. At what point will I switch to regular Social Security? Will the monthly amount change?
A: When you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits. The amount will remain the same.
Check out the rest here.

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