When we compute a person's benefit, we use the
national average wage indexing series to index
that person's earnings. Such indexation ensures that a worker's future
benefits reflect the general rise in the standard of living that occurred
during his or her working lifetime.
Eligibility and indexing
Wage indexing depends on the year in which a person is first eligible
to receive benefits. For retirement, eligibility is at age 62.
So if a person reaches age 62 in 2017, then 2017 is the
person's year of eligibility.
An individual's earnings are always indexed to the average wage level two
years prior to the year of first eligibility. Thus, for a person
retiring at age 62 in 2017, the person's earnings would be indexed to
the average wage index for 2015 (48,098.63). Earnings in a year
before 2015 would be multiplied by the ratio of 48,098.63 to the
average wage index for that year; earnings in 2015 or later would be
taken at face value.
A person's indexed earnings are used to calculate an
average indexed monthly earnings (AIME)
amount. We use this AIME amount to compute the person's
primary insurance amount.
Year of eligibility
If you select a year after 2017, we will use
average wage changes that were estimated under the intermediate assumptions
in the latest Trustees Report.