712.1 What computation methods are used for individuals eligible for benefits before the AME method?
Computation methods for individuals who were eligible for benefits before the AME method were consolidated into the two formulas for benefits payable June 1992, or later. The old computation methods continue to apply when:
An individual is entitled on the record in the month before the new entitlement; and
The PIA is based on a pre-1990 computation formula.
Because these old methods are rare, they are not discussed in this Handbook.
712.2 How are you eligible for either method of computing benefits?
To be eligible for either method of computing benefits, you must:
Become entitled to benefits on the record effective June 1992 or later. There is to be no other person on the record with benefits based on an old computation method in the month before the month you become entitled; and
Not qualify for any other new start method (methods enacted in 1965 or later which apply to earnings after 1950) or simplified old-start methods.
712.3 How does SSA compute elapsed years under the 1990 AME formula?
Under the 1990 AME formula, elapsed years for retirement insurance benefits are the later of either:
The years after 1950 up to 1961;
The year you turn 62; or
The year you turned 65 if you are a male born before January 2, 1913.
For survivors' benefits, the elapsed years are years after 1950 up to the year of death. However, if the worker attained retirement age and died prior to 1961, elapsed years go up to 1961.
Years before age 22 and years wholly or partially within a period of disability (if a higher primary insurance amount results) are excluded from the elapsed years.
712.4 How does SSA compute base years, computation years, and the divisor month under the 1990 AME formula?
712.5 How is the PIA determined for the AME under the 1990 AME formula?
The PIA for the AME is determined by a table. The table and the increases are not included in this Handbook because it is not possible to keep them current.
712.6 What is the difference between the 1990 old-start formula and the simplified old-start method?
Elapsed years are computed based on the retirement age of 65 for males born before January 2, 1911. For individuals born January 2, 1911, through January 1, 1913, retirement age occurs in 1975; and
Earnings in years prior to 1951 are allocated as follows:
The first year of the allocation period is:
1937-if the worker was born before January 2, 1917;
1950-if the worker was born January 2, 1929, or later;
The year the worker reaches age 21; or
1950-if the worker died before 1951 and before age 22.
The last year of the allocation period is:
1950-if the individual was alive on January 1, 1951; or
The year prior to the year of death if the individual died before January 1, 1951.
After the period is determined, the years are counted and the earnings are divided by the number of years.
Note: Recomputations of benefits for 1992 and later years of earnings are computed under one of the 1990 old-start methods whenever the eligibility year is prior to 1978. This is true regardless of the computation methods used to include earnings in previous years.
Example: Mr. Hile, was born in 1924 and died in 1950. His earnings for 1937 to 1950 equal $12,950. His earnings allocation period is 1945 (the year he reached age 21) through 1949 (the year prior to his death). There are five years in the allocation period. His earnings of $12,950 are divided by five (the number of years in the allocation period). $2,590 is allocated to each year (1945 - 1949). If Mr. Hile had a period of disability, it would have been excluded from the allocation period.
Last Revised: Sep. 22, 2003