When you think of who receives Social Security benefits, billionaires don’t likely come to mind.
After all, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, he stated, “We can never insure 100% of the population against 100% of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”
Social Security was intended to keep people out of poverty — something that most billionaires are in no danger of. Even so, Warren Buffett and others of his net worth are eligible for these benefits. Keep reading to find out how big Buffett’s Social Security check is.
Claiming Social Security
While you can begin receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, your benefit will be reduced by as much as 30% if you choose to partake. To receive your maximum Social Security benefit, you’ll need to wait until your full retirement age. The Social Security Administration considers full retirement age to be 66 or 67, depending on the year you were born.
For the record, Warren Buffett is currently 92 and way beyond full retirement age. Assuming he waited until full retirement age to receive his Social Security check, he would be receiving 100% of his monthly benefit. However, if he waited until he was 70 to start receiving benefits, he would receive more because the Social Security Administration incrementally increases your benefit amount for each year you delay receiving your full benefits up to age 70.
For people born in 1929-1930, full retirement age was 65, according to the SSA. But delaying to age 70 would equal a monthly benefit 22.5% higher.
How the SSA Determines Your Monthly Benefit
According to the Social Security Administration, this is how it arrives at your (and Warren Buffett’s) monthly benefit:
- Bases your benefit on your lifetime earnings
- Adjusts your actual earnings to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received
- Calculates your average adjusted monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most
- Applies a formula to these earnings and arrives at your basic benefit
How Big Is Buffett’s Social Security Payment?
To figure out how big Warren Buffett’s Social Security check is, GOBankingRates used the Social Security Administration’s Quick Calculator:
- First, it asks for the person’s birthdate, which, in Warren Buffett’s case, is August 30, 1930.
- Next, it asks for earnings in the current year. According to Business Insider, Buffett’s salary was $100,000 last year.
- The calculator allows you to see the estimated benefit in today’s dollars or inflated future dollars. Inflated future dollars was selected.
Buffett’s estimated monthly Social Security check in January 2024 is $3,254, accounting for inflation and future increases or earnings.
What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit?
If you’re wondering if Warren Buffett’s billionaire status somehow makes him eligible to receive the maximum benefit the SSA offers, the answer is no. The maximum Social Security benefit is based on someone who waits until age 70 to retire, which Buffett definitely qualifies for. However, in 2023, that benefit is $4,555, which is approximately 40% more than Buffett’s estimated monthly benefit of $3,254. Buffett’s annual salary of $100,000 isn’t enough to qualify for the maximum Social Security benefit.
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