Automatic Determinations

Benefit computations

Contribution & Benefit Base

Old-law Base

We use "years of coverage" in computing benefits for persons who are also eligible to receive pensions based on non-covered employment. We also use years of coverage when computing special minimum benefits that are payable to certain people who worked in covered employment for at least 11 years. In most cases, the normal benefit computation method provides a higher benefit than the special minimum benefit.

For 1951-78, the amount of Social Security covered earnings needed for a year of coverage is 25 percent of the contribution and benefit base. For years after 1978, the amounts are 25 percent of what the contribution and benefit base would have been if the 1977 Social Security Amendments had not been enacted (hence the name "old-law" base). For special-minimum benefit purposes only, the applicable percentage is 15 percent for years after 1990. Please see the following tables.

Old-Law Contribution and Benefit Base, and Minimum
Covered Earnings Needed to Qualify for a Year of Coverage
Earnings needed to qualify for a year of coverage for purposes of—
Year "Old-law"
contribution
and benefit base
Special minimum
primary insurance amount
Benefit computations applicable to certain individuals with pensions from noncovered employment
1991 $39,600$5,940$9,900
1992 41,4006,21010,350
1993 42,9006,43510,725
1994 45,0006,75011,250
1995 45,3006,79511,325
1996 46,5006,97511,625
1997 48,6007,29012,150
1998 50,7007,60512,675
1999 53,7008,05513,425
2000 56,7008,50514,175
2001 59,7008,95514,925
2002 63,0009,45015,750
2003 64,5009,67516,125
2004 65,1009,76516,275
2005 66,90010,03516,725
2006 69,90010,48517,475
2007 72,60010,89018,150
2008 75,90011,38518,975
2009 79,20011,88019,800
2010 79,20011,88019,800
2011 79,20011,88019,800
2012 81,90012,28520,475
2013 84,30012,64521,075
2014 87,00013,05021,750
2015 88,20013,23022,050

Contribution and benefit base for 1951-78, old-law base for 1979-90, and the corresponding amount of earnings needed for a year of coverage
Year Contribution
& benefit base
Amount of earnings
1951$3,600$900
1952 3,600 900
1953 3,600 900
1954 3,600 900
1955 4,200 1,050
1956 4,200 1,050
1957 4,200 1,050
1958 4,200 1,050
1959 4,800 1,200
1960 4,800 1,200
1961 4,800 1,200
1962 4,800 1,200
1963 4,800 1,200
1964 4,800 1,200
Year Contribution
& benefit base
Amount of earnings
1965 $4,800 $1,200
1966 6,600 1,650
1967 6,600 1,650
1968 7,800 1,950
1969 7,800 1,950
1970 7,800 1,950
1971 7,800 1,950
1972 9,000 2,250
1973 10,800 2,700
1974 13,200 3,300
1975 14,100 3,525
1976 15,300 3,825
1977 16,500 4,125
1978 17,700 4,425
Year Old-law contribution
& benefit base
Amount of earnings
1979 $18,900$4,725
1980 20,400 5,100
1981 22,200 5,550
1982 24,300 6,075
1983 26,700 6,675
1984 28,200 7,050
1985 29,700 7,425
1986 31,500 7,875
1987 32,700 8,175
1988 33,600 8,400
1989 35,700 8,925
1990 38,100 9,525