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COMPUTATION OF PRIMARY INSURANCE AMOUNT

SEC. 215. [42 U.S.C. 415] For the purposes of this title—

Primary Insurance Amount

(a)(1)(A) The primary insurance amount of an individual shall (except as otherwise provided in this section) be equal to the sum of—

(i) 90 percent of the individual's average indexed monthly earnings (determined under subsection (b)) to the extent that such earnings do not exceed the amount established for purposes of this clause by subparagraph (B),
(ii) 32 percent of the individual's average indexed monthly earnings to the extent that such earnings exceed the amount established for purposes of clause (i) but do not exceed the amount established for purposes of this clause by subparagraph (B), and
(iii) 15 percent of the individual's average indexed monthly earnings to the extent that such earnings exceed the amount established for purposes of clause (ii),

rounded, if not a multiple of $0.10, to the next lower multiple of $0.10, and thereafter increased as provided in subsection (i).

(B)(i) For individuals who initially become eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who die (before becoming eligible for such benefits), in the calendar year 1979, the amount established for purposes of clause (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall be $180 and $1,085, respectively.

(ii) For individuals who initially become eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who die (before becoming eligible for such benefits), in any calendar year after 1979, each of the amounts so established shall equal the product of the corresponding amount established with respect to the calendar year 1979 under clause (i) of this subparagraph and the quotient obtained by dividing—

(I) the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) for the second calendar year preceding the calendar year for which the determination is made, by
(II) the national average wage index (as so defined) for 1977.

(iii) Each amount established under clause (ii) for any calendar year shall be rounded to the nearest $1, except that any amount so established which is a multiple of $0.50 but not of $1 shall be rounded to the next higher $1.

(C)(i) No primary insurance amount computed under subparagraph (A) may be less than an amount equal to $11.50 multiplied by the individual's years of coverage in excess of 10, or the increased amount determined for purposes of this clause under subsection (i).

(ii) For purposes of clause (i), the term “years of coverage” with respect to any individual means the number (not exceeding 30) equal to the sum of (I) the number (not exceeding 14 and disregarding any fraction) determined by dividing (a) the total of the wages credited to such individual (including wages deemed to be paid prior to 1951 to such individual under section 217, compensation under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1937[192] prior to 1951 which is creditable to such individual pursuant to this title, and wages deemed to be paid prior to 1951 to such individual under section 231) for years after 1936 and before 1951 by (b) $900, plus (II) the number equal to the number of years after 1950 each of which is a computation base year (within the meaning of subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii)) and in each of which he is credited with wages (including wages deemed to be paid to such individual under section 217, compensation under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1937 or 1974[193] which is creditable to such individual pursuant to this title, and wages deemed to be paid to such individual under section 229) and self-employment income of not less than 25 percent (in the case of a year after 1950 and before 1978) of the maximum amount which (pursuant to subsection (e)) may be counted for such year, or 25 percent (in the case of a year after 1977 and before 1991) or 15 percent (in the case of a year after 1990) of the maximum amount which (pursuant to subsection (e)) could be counted for such year if section 230 as in effect immediately prior to the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1977[194] had remained in effect without change (except that, for purposes of subsection (b)(2)(A) of such section 230 as so in effect, the reference therein to the average of the wages of all employees as reported to the Secretary of the Treasury for any calendar year shall be deemed a reference to the national average wage index (within the meaning of section 209(k)(1)) for such calendar year).

(D) In each calendar year the Commissioner of Social Security shall publish in the Federal Register, on or before November 1, the formula for computing benefits under this paragraph and for adjusting wages and self-employment income under subsection (b)(3) in the case of an individual who becomes eligible for an old-age insurance benefit, or (if earlier) becomes eligible for a disability insurance benefit or dies, in the following year, and the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) on which that formula is based.

(2)(A) A year shall not be counted as the year of an individual's death or eligibility for purposes of this subsection or subsection (i) in any case where such individual was entitled to a disability insurance benefit for any of the 12 months immediately preceding the month of such death or eligibility (but there shall be counted instead the year of the individual's eligibility for the disability insurance benefit or benefits to which he was entitled during such 12 months).

(B) In the case of an individual who was entitled to a disability insurance benefit for any of the 12 months before the month in which he became entitled to an old-age insurance benefit, became reentitled to a disability insurance benefit, or died, the primary insurance amount for determining any benefit attributable to that entitlement, reentitlement, or death is the greater of—

(i) the primary insurance amount upon which such disability insurance benefit was based, increased by the amount of each general benefit increase (as defined in subsection (i)(3)), and each increase provided under subsection (i)(2), that would have applied to such primary insurance amount had the individual remained entitled to such disability insurance benefit until the month in which he became so entitled or reentitled or died, or
(ii) the amount computed under paragraph (1)(C).

(C) In the case of an individual who was entitled to a disability insurance benefit for any month, and with respect to whom a primary insurance amount is required to be computed at any time after the close of the period of the individual's disability (whether because of such individual's subsequent entitlement to old-age insurance benefits or to a disability insurance benefit based upon a subsequent period of disability, or because of such individual's death), the primary insurance amount so computed may in no case be less than the primary insurance amount with respect to which such former disability insurance benefit was most recently determined.

(3)(A) Paragraph (1) applies only to an individual who was not eligible for an old-age insurance benefit prior to January 1979 and who in that or any succeeding month—

(i) becomes eligible for such a benefit,
(ii) becomes eligible for a disability insurance benefit, or
(iii) dies, and (except for subparagraph (C)(i) thereof) it applies to every such individual except to the extent otherwise provided by paragraph (4).

(B) For purposes of this title, an individual is deemed to be eligible—

(i) for old-age insurance benefits, for months beginning with the month in which he attains age 62, or
(ii) for disability insurance benefits, for months beginning with the month in which his period of disability began as provided under section 216(i)(2)(C),

except as provided in paragraph (2)(A) in cases where fewer than 12 months have elapsed since the termination of a prior period of disability.

(4) Paragraph (1) (except for subparagraph (C)(i) thereof) does not apply to the computation or recomputation of a primary insurance amount for—

(A) an individual who was eligible for a disability insurance benefit for a month prior to January 1979 unless, prior to the month in which occurs the event described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (3)(A), there occurs a period of at least 12 consecutive months for which he was not entitled to a disability insurance benefit, or
(B) an individual who had wages or self-employment income credited for one or more years prior to 1979, and who was not eligible for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, and did not die, prior to January 1979, if in the year for which the computation or recomputation would be made the individual's primary insurance amount would be greater if computed or recomputed—
(i) under section 215(a) as in effect in December 1978, for purposes of old-age insurance benefits in the case of an individual who becomes eligible for such benefits prior to 1984, or
(ii) as provided by section 215(d), in the case of an individual to whom such section applies.

In determining whether an individual's primary insurance amount would be greater if computed or recomputed as provided in subparagraph (B), (I) the table of benefits in effect in December 1978, as modified by paragraph (6), shall be applied without regard to any increases in that table which may become effective (in accordance with subsection (i)(4)) for years after 1978 (subject to clause (iii) of subsection (i)(2)(A)) and (II) such individual's average monthly wage shall be computed as provided by subsection (b)(4).

(5)(A) Subject to subparagraphs (B), (C), (D) and (E), for purposes of computing the primary insurance amount (after December 1978) of an individual to whom paragraph (1) does not apply (other than an individual described in paragraph (4)(B)), this section as in effect in December 1978 shall remain in effect, except that, effective for January 1979, the dollar amount specified in paragraph (3) of subsection (a) shall be increased to $11.50.

(B)(i) Subject to clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv), and notwithstanding any other provision of law, the primary insurance amount of any individual described in subparagraph (C) shall be, in lieu of the primary insurance amount as computed pursuant to any of the provisions referred to in subparagraph (D), the primary insurance amount computed under subsection (a) of section 215 as in effect in December 1978, without regard to subsections (b)(4) and (c) of such section as so in effect.

(ii) The computation of a primary insurance amount under this subparagraph shall be subject to section 104(j)(2) of the Social Security Amendments of 1972 (relating to the number of elapsed years under section 215(b)).

(iii) In computing a primary insurance amount under this subparagraph, the dollar amount specified in paragraph (3) of section 215(a) (as in effect in December 1978) shall be increased to $11.50.

(iv) In the case of an individual to whom section 215(d) applies, the primary insurance amount of such individual shall be the greater of—

(I) the primary insurance amount computed under the preceding clauses of this subparagraph, or
(II) the primary insurance amount computed under section 215(d).

(C) An individual is described in this subparagraph if—

(i) paragraph (1) does not apply to such individual by reason of such individual's eligibility for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, or the individual's death, prior to 1979, and
(ii) such individual's primary insurance amount computed under this section as in effect immediately before the date of the enactment of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 would have been computed under the provisions described in subparagraph (D).

(D) The provisions described in this subparagraph are—

(i) the provisions of this subsection as in effect prior to the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, if such provisions would preclude the use of wages prior to 1951 in the computation of the primary insurance amount,
(ii) the provisions of section 209 as in effect prior to the enactment of the Social Security Act Amendments of 1950, and
(iii) the provisions of section 215(d) as in effect prior to the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1977.

(E) For purposes of this paragraph, the table for determining primary insurance amounts and maximum family benefits contained in this section in December 1978 shall be revised as provided by subsection (i) for each year after 1978.

(6)(A) In applying the table of benefits in effect in December 1978 under this section for purposes of the last sentence of paragraph (4), such table, revised as provided by subsection (i), as applicable, shall be extended for average monthly wages of less than $76.00 and primary insurance benefits (as determined under subsection (d)) of less than $16.20.

(B) The Commissioner of Social Security shall determine and promulgate in regulations the methodology for extending the table under subparagraph (A).

(7)(A) In the case of an individual whose primary insurance amount would be computed under paragraph (1) of this subsection, who—

(i) attains age 62 after 1985 (except where he or she became entitled to a disability insurance benefit before 1986 and remained so entitled in any of the 12 months immediately preceding his or her attainment of age 62), or
(ii) would attain age 62 after 1985 and becomes eligible for a disability insurance benefit after 1985,

and who first becomes eligible after 1985 for a monthly periodic payment (including a payment determined under subparagraph (C), but excluding (I) a payment under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974[195] or 1937[196], (II) a payment by a social security system of a foreign country based on an agreement concluded between the United States and such foreign country pursuant to section 233, and (III) a payment based wholly on service as a member of a uniformed service (as defined in section 210(m)) which is based in whole or in part upon his or her earnings for service which did not constitute “employment” as defined in section 210 for purposes of this title (hereafter in this paragraph and in subsection (d)(3) referred to as “noncovered service”), the primary insurance amount of that individual during his or her concurrent entitlement to such monthly periodic payment and to old-age or disability insurance benefits shall be computed or recomputed under subparagraph (B).

(B)(i) If paragraph (1) of this subsection would apply to such an individual (except for subparagraph (A) of this paragraph), there shall first be computed an amount equal to the individual's primary insurance amount under paragraph (1) of this subsection, except that for purposes of such computation the percentage of the individual's average indexed monthly earnings established by subparagraph (A)(i) of paragraph (1) shall be the percent specified in clause (ii). There shall then be computed (without regard to this paragraph) a second amount, which shall be equal to the individual's primary insurance amount under paragraph (1) of this subsection, except that such second amount shall be reduced by an amount equal to one-half of the portion of the monthly periodic payment which is attributable to noncovered service performed after 1956 (with such attribution being based on the proportionate number of years of such noncovered service) and to which the individual is entitled (or is deemed to be entitled) for the initial month of his or her concurrent entitlement to such monthly periodic payment and old-age or disability insurance benefits. The individual's primary insurance amount shall be the larger of the two amounts computed under this subparagraph (before the application of subsection (i)) and shall be deemed to be computed under paragraph (1) of this subsection for the purpose of applying other provisions of this title.

(ii) For purposes of clause (i), the percent specified in this clause is—

(I) 80.0 percent with respect to individuals who become eligible (as defined in paragraph (3)(B)) for old-age insurance benefits (or became eligible as so defined for disability insurance benefits before attaining age 62) in 1986;
(II) 70.0 percent with respect to individuals who so become eligible in 1987;
(III) 60.0 percent with respect to individuals who so become eligible in 1988;
(IV) 50.0 percent with respect to individuals who so become eligible in 1989; and
(V) 40.0 percent with respect to individuals who so become eligible in 1990 or thereafter.

(C)(i) Any periodic payment which otherwise meets the requirements of subparagraph (A), but which is paid on other than a monthly basis, shall be allocated on a basis equivalent to a monthly payment (as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security), and such equivalent monthly payment shall constitute a monthly periodic payment for purposes of this paragraph.

(ii) In the case of an individual who has elected to receive a periodic payment that has been reduced so as to provide a survivor's benefit to any other individual, the payment shall be deemed to be increased (for purposes of any computation under this paragraph or subsection (d)(3) by the amount of such reduction.

(iii) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “periodic payment” includes a payment payable in a lump sum if it is a commutation of, or a substitute for, periodic payments.

(D) This paragraph shall not apply in the case of an individual who has 30 years or more of coverage. In the case of an individual who has more than 20 years of coverage but less than 30 years of coverage (as so defined), the percent specified in the applicable subdivision of subparagraph (B)(ii) shall (if such percent is smaller than the applicable percent specified in the following table) be deemed to be the applicable percent specified in the following table:

 

If the number of such individual's years of coverage (as so defined) is:  The applicable percent is: 
29  85 percent 
28  80 percent 
27  75 percent 
26  70 percent 
25  65 percent 
24  60 percent 
23  55 percent 
22  50 percent 
21  45 percent 

For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “year of coverage” shall have the meaning provided in paragraph (1)(C)(ii), except that the reference to “15 percent” therein shall be deemed to be a reference to “25 percent”.

(E) This paragraph shall not apply in the case of an individual whose eligibility for old-age or disability insurance benefits is based on an agreement concluded pursuant to section 233 or an individual who on January 1, 1984—

(i) is an employee performing service to which social security coverage is extended on that date solely by reason of the amendments made by section 101 of the Social Security Amendments of 1983[197]; or
(ii) is an employee of a nonprofit organization which (on December 31, 1983) did not have in effect a waiver certificate under section 3121(k) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954[198] and to the employees of which social security coverage is extended on that date solely by reason of the amendments made by section 102 of that Act, unless social security coverage had previously extended to service performed by such individual as an employee of that organization under a waiver certificate which was subsequently (prior to December 31, 1983) terminated.

Average Indexed Monthly Earnings; Average Monthly Wage

(b)(1) An individual's average indexed monthly earnings shall be equal to the quotient obtained by dividing—

(A) the total (after adjustment under paragraph (3)) of his wages paid in and self-employment income credited to his benefit computation years (determined under paragraph (2)), by
(B) the number of months in those years.

(2)(A) The number of an individual's benefit computation years equals the number of elapsed years reduced—

(i) in the case of an individual who is entitled to old-age insurance benefits (except as provided in the second sentence of this subparagraph), or who has died, by 5 years, and
(ii) in the case of an individual who is entitled to disability insurance benefits, by the number of years equal to one-fifth of such individual's elapsed years (disregarding any resulting fractional part of a year), but not by more than 5 years.

Clause (ii), once applicable with respect to any individual, shall continue to apply for purposes of determining such individual's primary insurance amount for purposes of any subsequent eligibility for disability or old-age insurance benefits unless prior to the month in which such eligibility begins there occurs a period of at least 12 consecutive months for which he was not entitled to a disability or an old-age insurance benefit. If an individual described in clause (ii) is living with a child (of such individual or his or her spouse) under the age of 3 in any calendar year which is included in such individual's computation base years, but which is not disregarded pursuant to clause (ii) or to subparagraph (B) (in determining such individual's benefit computation years) by reason of the reduction in the number of such individual's elapsed years under clause (ii), the number by which such elapsed years are reduced under this subparagraph pursuant to clause (ii) shall be increased by one (up to a combined total not exceeding 3) for each such calendar year; except that (I) no calendar year shall be disregarded by reason of this sentence (in determining such individual's benefit computation years) unless the individual was living with such child substantially throughout the period in which the child was alive and under the age of 3 in such year and the individual had no earnings as described in section 203(f)(5) in such year, (II) the particular calendar years to be disregarded under this sentence (in determining such benefit computation years) shall be those years (not otherwise disregarded under clause (ii)) which, before the application of section 215(f), meet the conditions of subclause (I), and (III) this sentence shall apply only to the extent that its application would not result in a lower primary insurance amount. The number of an individual's benefit computation years as determined under this subparagraph shall in no case be less than 2.

(B) For purposes of this subsection with respect to any individual—

(i) the term “benefit computation years” means those computation base years, equal in number to the number determined under subparagraph (A), for which the total of such individual's wages and self-employment income, after adjustment under paragraph (3), is the largest;
(ii) the term “computation base years” means the calendar years after 1950 and before—
(I) in the case of an individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits, the year in which occurred (whether by reason of section 202(j)(1) or otherwise) the first month of that entitlement; or
(II) in the case of an individual who has died (without having become entitled to old-age insurance benefits), the year succeeding the year of his death;
except that such term excludes any calendar year entirely included in a period of disability; and
(iii) the term “number of elapsed years” means (except as otherwise provided by section 104(j)(2) of the Social Security Amendments of 1972[199]) the number of calendar years after 1950 (or, if later, the year in which the individual attained age 21) and before the year in which the individual died, or, if it occurred earlier (but after 1960), the year in which he attained age 62; except that such term excludes any calendar year any part of which is included in a period of disability.

(3)(A) Except as provided by subparagraph (B), the wages paid in and self-employment income credited to each of an individual's computation base years for purposes of the selection therefrom of benefit computation years under paragraph (2) shall be deemed to be equal to the product of—

(i) the wages and self-employment income paid in or credited to such year (as determined without regard to this subparagraph), and
(ii) the quotient obtained by dividing—
(I) the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) for the second calendar year preceding the earliest of the year of the individual's death, eligibility for an old-age insurance benefit, or eligibility for a disability insurance benefit (except that the year in which the individual dies, or becomes eligible, shall not be considered as such year if the individual was entitled to disability insurance benefits for any month in the 12-month period immediately preceding such death or eligibility, but there shall be counted instead the year of the individual's eligibility for the disability insurance benefit to which he was entitled in such 12-month period), by
(II) the national average wage index (as so defined) for the computation base year for which the determination is made.

(B) Wages paid in or self-employment income credited to an individual's computation base year which—

(i) occurs after the second calendar year specified in subparagraph (A)(ii)(I), or
(ii) is a year treated under subsection (f)(2)(C) as though it were the last year of the period specified in paragraph (2)(B)(ii),

shall be available for use in determining an individual's benefit computation years, but without applying subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(4) For purposes of determining the average monthly wage of an individual whose primary insurance amount is computed (after 1978) under section 215(a) or 215(d) as in effect (except with respect to the table contained therein) in December 1978, by reason of subsection (a)(4)(B), this subsection as in effect in December 1978 shall remain in effect, except that paragraph (2)(C) (as then in effect) shall be deemed to provide that “computation base years” include only calendar years in the period after 1950 (or 1936, if applicable) and prior to the year in which occurred the first month for which the individual was eligible (as defined in subsection (a)(3)(B) as in effect in January 1979) for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, or, if earlier, the year in which he died. Any calendar year all of which is included in a period of disability shall not be included as a computation base year for such purposes.

Application of Prior Provisions in Certain Cases

(c) Subject to the amendments made by section 5117 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, this subsection as in effect in December 1978 shall remain in effect with respect to an individual to whom subsection (a)(1) does not apply by reason of the individual's eligibility for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, or the individual's death, prior to 1979.

Primary Insurance Benefit Under 1939 Act

(d)(1) For purposes of column I of the table appearing in subsection (a), as that subsection was in effect in December 1977, an individual's primary insurance benefit shall be computed as follows:

(A) The individual's average monthly wage shall be determined as provided in subsection (b), as in effect in December 1977 (but without regard to paragraph (4) thereof and subject to section 104(j)(2) of the Social Security Amendments of 1972), except that for purposes of paragraphs (2)(C) and (3) of that subsection (as so in effect) 1936 shall be used instead of 1950.
(B) For purposes of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of subsection (b)(2) (as so in effect)—
(i) the total wages prior to 1951 (as defined in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph) of an individual—
(I) shall, in the case of an individual who attained age 21 prior to 1950, be divided by the number of years (hereinafter in this subparagraph referred to as the “divisor”) elapsing after the year in which the individual attained age 20, or 1936 if later, and prior to the earlier of the year of death or 1951, except that such divisor shall not include any calendar year entirely included in a period of disability, and in no case shall the divisor be less than one, and
(II) shall, in the case of an individual who died before 1950 and before attaining age 21, be divided by the number of years (hereinafter in this subparagraph referred to as the “divisor”) elapsing after the second year prior to the year of death, or 1936 if later, and prior to the year of death, and in no case shall the divisor be less than one; and
(ii) the total wages prior to 1951 (as defined in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph) of an individual who either attained age 21 after 1949 or died after 1949 before attaining age 21, shall be divided by the number of years (hereinafter in this subparagraph referred to as the “divisor”) elapsing after 1949 and prior to 1951.
The quotient so obtained shall be deemed to be the individual's wages credited to each of the years which were used in computing the amount of the divisor, except that—
(iii) if the quotient exceeds $3,000, only $3,000 shall be deemed to be the individual's wages for each of the years which were used in computing the amount of the divisor, and the remainder of the individual's total wages prior to 1951 (I) if less than $3,000, shall be deemed credited to the computation base year (as defined in subsection (b)(2) as in effect in December 1977) immediately preceding the earliest year used in computing the amount of the divisor, of (II) if $3,000 or more, shall be deemed credited, in $3,000 increments, to the computation base year (as so defined) immediately preceding the earliest year used in computing the amount of the divisor and to each of the computation base years (as so defined) consecutively preceding that year, with any remainder less than $3,000 being credited to the computation base year (as so defined) immediately preceding the earliest year to which a full $3,000 increment was credited; and
(iv) no more than $42,000 may be taken into account, for purposes of this subparagraph, as total wages after 1936 and prior to 1951.
(C) For the purposes of subparagraph (B), “total wages prior to 1951” with respect to an individual means the sum of (i) remuneration credited to such individual prior to 1951 on the records of the Commissioner of Social Security, (ii) wages deemed paid prior to 1951 to such individual under section 217, (iii) compensation under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1937[200] prior to 1951 creditable to him pursuant to this title, and (iv) wages deemed paid prior to 1951 to such individual under section 231.
(D) The individual's primary insurance benefit shall be 40 percent of the first $50 of his average monthly wage as computed under this subsection, plus 10 percent of the next $200 of his average monthly wage, increased by 1 percent for each increment year. The number of increment years is the number, not more than 14 nor less than 4, that is equal to the individual's total wages prior to 1951 divided by $1,650 (disregarding any fraction).

(2) The provisions of this subsection shall be applicable only in the case of an individual—

(A) with respect to whom at least one of the quarters elapsing prior to 1951 is a quarter of coverage;
(B) who attained age 22 after 1950 and with respect to whom less than six of the quarters elapsing after 1950 are quarters of coverage, or who attained such age before 1951; and
(C)(i) who becomes entitled to benefits under section 202(a) or 223 or who dies, or
(ii) whose primary insurance amount is required to be recomputed under paragraph (2), (6), or (7) of subsection (f) or under section 231.

(3) In the case of an individual whose primary insurance amount is not computed under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) by reason of paragraph (4)(B)(ii) of that subsection, who—

(A) attains age 62 after 1985 (except where he or she became entitled to a disability insurance benefit before 1986, and remained so entitled in any of the 12 months immediately preceding his or her attainment of age 62), or
(B) would attain age 62 after 1985 and becomes eligible for a disability insurance benefit after 1985,

and who first becomes eligible after 1985 for a monthly periodic payment (including a payment determined under subsection (a)(7)(C), but excluding (I) a payment under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974[201] or 1937), (II) a payment by a social security system of a foreign country based on an agreement concluded between the United States and such foreign country pursuant to section 233, and (III) a payment based wholly on service as a member of a uniformed service (as defined in section 210(m)) which is based (in whole or in part) upon his or her earnings in noncovered service, the primary insurance amount of such individual during his or her concurrent entitlement to such monthly periodic payment and to old-age or disability insurance benefits shall be the primary insurance amount computed or recomputed under this subsection (without regard to this paragraph and before the application of subsection (i)) reduced by an amount equal to the smaller of—

(i) one-half of the primary insurance amount (computed without regard to this paragraph and before the application of subsection (i)), or
(ii) one-half of the portion of the monthly periodic payment (or payment determined under subsection (a)(7)(C)) which is attributable to noncovered service performed after 1956 (with such attribution being based on the proportionate number of years of such noncovered service) and to which that individual is entitled (or is deemed to be entitled) for the initial month of such concurrent entitlement.

This paragraph shall not apply in the case of any individual to whom subsection (a)(7) would not apply by reason of subparagraph (E) or the first sentence of subparagraph (D) thereof.

Certain Wages and Self-Employment Income Not To Be Counted

(e) For the purposes of subsections (b) and (d)—

(1) in computing an individual's average indexed monthly earnings or, in the case of an individual whose primary insurance amount is computed under section 215(a) as in effect prior to January 1979, average monthly wage, there shall not be counted the excess over $3,600 in the case of any calendar year after 1950 and before 1955, the excess over $4,200 in the case of any calendar year after 1954 and before 1959, the excess over $4,800 in the case of any calendar year after 1958 and before 1966, the excess over $6,600 in the case of any calendar year after 1965 and before 1968, the excess over $7,800 in the case of any calendar year after 1967 and before 1972, the excess over $9,000 in the case of any calendar year after 1971 and before 1973, the excess over $10,800 in the case of any calendar year after 1972 and before 1974, the excess over $13,200 in the case of any calendar year after 1973 and before 1975, and the excess over an amount equal to the contribution and benefit base (as determined under section 230) in the case of any calendar year after 1974 with respect to which such contribution and benefit base is effective, (before the application, in the case of average indexed monthly earnings, of subsection (b)(3)(A)) of (A) the wages paid to him in such year, plus (B) the self-employment income credited to such year (as determined under section 212); and
(2) if an individual's average indexed monthly earnings or, in the case of an individual whose primary insurance amount is computed under section 215(a) as in effect prior to January 1979, average monthly wage, computed under subsection (b) or for the purposes of subsection (d) is not a multiple of $1, it shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

Recomputation of Benefits

(f)(1) After an individual's primary insurance amount has been determined under this section, there shall be no recomputation of such individual's primary insurance amount except as provided in this subsection or, in the case of a World War II veteran who died prior to July 27, 1954, as provided in section 217(b).

(2)(A)If an individual has wages or self-employment income for a year after 1978 for any part of which he is entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security shall, at such time or times and within such period as the Commissioner may by regulation prescribe, recompute the individual's primary insurance amount for that year.

(B) For the purpose of applying subparagraph (A) of subsection (a)(1) to the average indexed monthly earnings of an individual to whom that subsection applies and who receives a recomputation under this paragraph, there shall be used, in lieu of the amounts established by subsection (a)(1)(B) for purposes of clauses (i) and (ii) of subsection (a)(1)(A), the amounts so established that were (or, in the case of an individual described in subsection (a)(4)(B), would have been) used in the computation of such individual's primary insurance amount prior to the application of this subsection.

(C) A recomputation of any individual's primary insurance amount under this paragraph shall be made as provided in subsection (a)(1) as though the year with respect to which it is made is the last year of the period specified in subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii); and subsection (b)(3)(A) shall apply with respect to any such recomputation as it applied in the computation of such individual's primary insurance amount prior to the application of this subsection.

(D) A recomputation under this paragraph with respect to any year shall be effective—

(i) in the case of an individual who did not die in that year, for monthly benefits beginning with benefits for January of the following year; or
(ii) in the case of an individual who died in that year, for monthly benefits beginning with benefits for the month in which he died.

[(3) Repealed.[202]]

(4) A recomputation shall be effective under this subsection only if it increases the primary insurance amount by at least $1.

(5) In the case of a man who became entitled to old-age insurance benefits and died before the month in which he attained retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)), the Commissioner of Social Security shall recompute his primary insurance amount as provided in subsection (a) as though he became entitled to old-age insurance benefits in the month in which he died; except that (i) his computation base years referred to in subsection (b)(2) shall include the year in which he died, and (ii) his elapsed years referred to in subsection (b)(3) shall not include the year in which he died or any year thereafter. Such recomputation of such primary insurance amount shall be effective for and after the month in which he died.

(6) Upon the death after 1967 of an individual entitled to benefits under section 202(a) or section 223, if any person is entitled to monthly benefits or a lump-sum death payment, on the wages and self-employment income of such individual, the Commissioner of Social Security shall recompute the decedent's primary insurance amount, but only if the decedent during his lifetime was paid compensation which was treated under section 205(o) as remuneration for employment.

(7) This subsection as in effect in December 1978 shall continue to apply to the recomputation of a primary insurance amount computed under subsection (a) or (d) as in effect (without regard to the table in subsection (a)) in that month, and, where appropriate, under subsection (d) as in effect in December 1977, including a primary insurance amount computed under any such subsection whose operation is modified as a result of the amendments made by section 5117 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. For purposes of recomputing a primary insurance amount determined under subsection (a) or (d) (as so in effect) in the case of an individual to whom those subsections apply by reason of subsection (a)(4)(B) as in effect after December 1978, no remuneration shall be taken into account for the year in which the individual initially became eligible for an old-age or disability insurance benefit or died, or for any year thereafter, and (effective January 1982) the recomputation shall be modified by the application of subsection (a)(6) where applicable.

(8) The Commissioner of Social Security shall recompute the primary insurance amounts applicable to beneficiaries whose benefits are based on a primary insurance amount which was computed under subsection (a)(3) effective prior to January 1979, or would have been so computed if the dollar amount specified therein were $11.50. Such recomputation shall be effective January 1979, and shall include the effect of the increase in the dollar amount provided by subsection (a)(1)(C)(i). Such primary insurance amount shall be deemed to be provided under such section for purposes of subsection (i).

(9)(A)In the case of an individual who becomes entitled to a periodic payment determined under subsection (a)(7)(A) (including a payment determined under subsection (a)(7)(C)) in a month subsequent to the first month in which he or she becomes entitled to an old-age or disability insurance benefit, and whose primary insurance amount has been computed without regard to either such subsection or subsection (d)(3), such individual's primary insurance amount shall be recomputed (notwithstanding paragraph (4) of this subsection), in accordance with either such subsection or subsection (d)(3), as may be applicable, effective with the first month of his or her concurrent entitlement to such benefit and such periodic payment.

(B) If an individual's primary insurance amount has been computed under subsection (a)(7) or (d)(3), and it becomes necessary to recompute that primary insurance amount under this subsection—

(i) so as to increase the monthly benefit amount payable with respect to such primary insurance amount (except in the case of the individual's death), such increase shall be determined as though the recomputed primary insurance amount were being computed under subsection (a)(7) or (d)(3), or
(ii) by reason of the individual's death, such primary insurance amount shall be recomputed without regard to (and as though it had never been computed with regard to) subsection (a)(7) or (d)(3).

Rounding of Benefits

(g) The amount of any monthly benefit computed under section 202 or 223 which (after any reduction under sections 203(a) and 224 and any deduction under section 203(b), and after any deduction under section 1840(a)(1)) is not a multiple of $1 shall be rounded to the next lower multiple of $1.

Service of Certain Public Health Service Officers

(h)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subchapter III of chapter 83 of title 5, United States Code[203], remuneration paid for service to which the provisions of section 210(l)(1) of this Act are applicable and which is performed by an individual as a commissioned officer of the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service prior to July 1, 1960, shall not be included in computing entitlement to or the amount of any monthly benefit under this title, on the basis of his wages and self-employment income, for any month after June 1960 and prior to the first month with respect to which the Director of the Office of Personnel Management certifies to the Commissioner of Social Security that, by reason of a waiver filed as provided in paragraph (2), no further annuity will be paid to him, his wife, and his children, or, if he has died, to his widow and children, under subchapter III of chapter 83 of title 5, United States Code, on the basis of such service.

(2) In the case of a monthly benefit for a month prior to that in which the individual, on whose wages and self-employment income such benefit is based, dies, the waiver must be filed by such individual; and such waiver shall be irrevocable and shall constitute a waiver on behalf of himself, his wife, and his children. If such individual did not file such a waiver before he died, then in the case of a benefit for the month in which he died or any month thereafter, such waiver must be filed by his widow, if any, and by or on behalf of all his children, if any; and such waivers shall be irrevocable. Such a waiver by a child shall be filed by his legal guardian or guardians, or, in the absence thereof, by the person (or persons) who has the child in his care.

Cost-of-Living Increases in Benefits

(i)(1) For purposes of this subsection—

(A) the term “base quarter” means (i) the calendar quarter ending on September 30 in each year after 1982, or (ii) any other calendar quarter in which occurs the effective month of a general benefit increase under this title;
(B) the term “cost-of-living computation quarter” means a base quarter, as defined in subparagraph (A)(i), with respect to which the applicable increase percentage is greater than zero; except that there shall be no cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year if in the year prior to such year a law has been enacted providing a general benefit increase under this title or if in such prior year such a general benefit increase becomes effective;
(C) the term “applicable increase percentage” means—
(i) with respect to a base quarter or cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year before 1984, or in any calendar year after 1983 and before 1989 for which the OASDI fund ratio is 15.0 percent or more, or in any calendar year after 1988 for which the OASDI fund ratio is 20.0 percent or more, the CPI increase percentage; and
(ii) with respect to a base quarter or cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year after 1983 and before 1989 for which the OASDI fund ratio is less than 15.0 percent, or in any calendar year after 1988 for which the OASDI fund ratio is less than 20.0 percent, the CPI increase percentage or the wage increase percentage, whichever (with respect to that quarter) is the lower;
(D) the term “CPI increase percentage”, with respect to a base quarter or cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year, means the percentage (rounded to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent) by which the Consumer Price Index for that quarter (as prepared by the Department of Labor) exceeds such index for the most recent prior calendar quarter which was a base quarter under subparagraph (A)(ii) or, if later, the most recent cost-of-living computation quarter under subparagraph (B);
(E) the term “wage increase percentage”, with respect to a base quarter or cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year, means the percentage (rounded to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent) by which the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) for the year immediately preceding such calendar year exceeds such index for the year immediately preceding the most recent prior calendar year which included a base quarter under subparagraph (A)(ii) or, if later, which included a cost-of-living computation quarter;
(F) the term “OASDI fund ratio”, with respect to any calendar year, means the ratio of—
(i) the combined balance in the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund as of the beginning of such year, including the taxes transferred under section 201(a) on the first day of such year and reduced by the outstanding amount of any loan (including interest thereon) theretofore made to either such Fund from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 201(l), to
(ii) the total amount which (as estimated by the Commissioner of Social Security) will be paid from the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund during such calendar year for all purposes authorized by section 201 (other than payments of interest on, or repayments of, loans from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 201(l)), but excluding any transfer payments between such trust funds and reducing the amount of any transfers to the Railroad Retirement Account by the amount of any transfers into either such trust fund from that Account;
(G) the Consumer Price Index for a base quarter, a cost-of-living computation quarter, or any other calendar quarter shall be the arithmetical mean of such index for the 3 months in such quarter.

(2)(A)(i) The Commissioner of Social Security shall determine each year beginning with 1975 (subject to the limitation in paragraph (1)(B)) whether the base quarter (as defined in paragraph (1)(A)(i)) in such year is a cost-of-living computation quarter.

(ii) If the Commissioner of Social Security determines that the base quarter in any year is a cost-of-living computation quarter, the Commissioner shall, effective with the month of December of that year as provided in subparagraph (B), increase—

(I) the benefit amount to which individuals are entitled for that month under section 227 or 228,
(II) the primary insurance amount of each other individual on which benefit entitlement is based under this title, and
(III) the amount of total monthly benefits based on any primary insurance amount which is permitted under section 203 (and such total shall be increased, unless otherwise so increased under another provision of this title, at the same time as such primary insurance amount) or, in the case of a primary insurance amount computed under subsection (a) as in effect (without regard to the table contained therein) prior to January 1979, the amount to which the beneficiaries may be entitled under section 203 as in effect in December 1978, except as provided by section 203(a)(7) and (8) as in effect after December 1978.

The increase shall be derived by multiplying each of the amounts described in subdivisions (I), (II), and (III) (including each of those amounts as previously increased under this subparagraph) by the applicable increase percentage; and any amount so increased that is not a multiple of $0.10 shall be decreased to the next lower multiple of $0.10. Any increase under this subsection in a primary insurance amount determined under subparagraph (C)(i) of subsection (a)(1) shall be applied after the initial determination of such primary insurance amount under that subparagraph (with the amount of such increase, in the case of an individual who becomes eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits or dies in a calendar year after 1979, being determined from the range of possible primary insurance amounts published by the Commissioner of Social Security under the last sentence of subparagraph (D)).

(iii) In the case of an individual who becomes eligible for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, or who dies prior to becoming so eligible, in a year in which there occurs an increase provided under clause (ii), the individual's primary insurance amount (without regard to the time of entitlement to that benefit) shall be increased (unless otherwise so increased under another provision of this title and, with respect to a primary insurance amount determined under subsection (a)(1)(C)(i)(I) in the case of an individual to whom that subsection (as in effect in December 1981) applied, subject to the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(C)(i) and clauses (iv) and (v) of this subparagraph (as then in effect)) by the amount of that increase and subsequent applicable increases, but only with respect to benefits payable for months after November of that year.

(B) The increase provided by subparagraph (A) with respect to a particular cost-of-living computation quarter shall apply in the case of monthly benefits under this title for months after November of the calendar year in which occurred such cost-of-living computation quarter, and in the case of lump-sum death payments with respect to deaths occurring after November of such calendar year.

(C)(i) Whenever the Commissioner of Social Security determines that a base quarter in a calendar year is also a cost-of-living computation quarter, the Commissioner shall notify the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance of such determination within 30 days after the close of such quarter, indicating the amount of the benefit increase to be provided, the Commissioner's estimate of the extent to which the cost of such increase would be met by an increase in the contribution and benefit base under section 230 and the estimated amount of the increase in such base, the actuarial estimates of the effect of such increase, and the actuarial assumptions and methodology used in preparing such estimates.

(ii) The Commissioner of Social Security shall determine and promulgate the OASDI fund ratio for the current calendar year on or before November 1 of the current calendar year, based upon the most recent data then available. The Commissioner of Social Security shall include a statement of the fund ratio and the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) and a statement of the effect such ration and the level of such index may have upon benefit increases under this subsection in any notification made under clause (i) and any determination published under subparagraph (D).

(D) If the Commissioner of Social Security determines that a base quarter in a calendar year is also a cost-of-living computation quarter, the Commissioner shall publish in the Federal Register within 45 days after the close of such quarter a determination that a benefit increase is resultantly required and the percentage thereof. The Commissioner shall also publish in the Federal Register at that time (i) a revision of the range of the primary insurance amounts which are possible after the application of this subsection based on the dollar amount specified in subparagraph (C)(i) of subsection (a)(1) (with such revised primary insurance amounts constituting the increased amounts determined for purposes of such subparagraph (C)(i) under this subsection), or specified in subsection (a)(3) as in effect prior to 1979, and (ii) a revision of the range of maximum family benefits which correspond to such primary insurance amounts (with such maximum benefits being effective notwithstanding section 203(a) except for paragraph (3)(B) thereof (or paragraph (2) thereof as in effect prior to 1979)). Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, such revision of maximum family benefits shall be subject to paragraph (6) of section 203(a) (as added by section 101(a)(3) of the Social Security Disability Amendments of 1980[204]).

(3) As used in this subsection, the term “general benefit increase under this title” means an increase (other than an increase under this subsection) in all primary insurance amounts on which monthly insurance benefits under this title are based.

(4) This subsection as in effect in December 1978, and as amended by sections 111(a)(6), 111(b)(2), and 112 of the Social Security Amendments of 1983[205] and by section 9001 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986[206], shall continue to apply to subsections (a) and (d), as then in effect and as amended by section 5117 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990[207], for purposes of computing the primary insurance amount of an individual to whom subsection (a), as in effect after December 1978, does not apply (including an individual to whom subsection (a) does not apply in any year by reason of paragraph (4)(B) of that subsection (but the application of this subsection in such cases shall be modified by the application of subdivision (I) in the last sentence of paragraph (4) of that subsection)), except that for this purpose, in applying paragraphs (2)(A)(ii), (2)(D)(iv), and (2)(D)(v) of this subsection as in effect in December 1978, the phrase “increased to the next higher multiple of $0.10” shall be deemed to read “decreased to the next lower multiple of $0.10”. For purposes of computing primary insurance amounts and maximum family benefits (other than primary insurance amounts and maximum family benefits for individuals to whom such paragraph (4)(B) applies), the Commissioner of Social Security shall revise the table of benefits contained in subsection (a), as in effect in December 1978, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (2)(D) of this subsection as then in effect, except that the requirement in such paragraph (2)(D) that the Commissioner of Social Security publish such revision of the table of benefits in the Federal Register shall not apply.

(5)(A) If—

(i) with respect to any calendar year the “applicable increase percentage” was determined under clause (ii) of paragraph (1)(C) rather than under clause (i) of such paragraph, and the increase becoming effective under paragraph (2) in such year was accordingly determined on the basis of the wage increase percentage rather than the CPI increase percentage (or there was no such increase becoming effective under paragraph (2) in that year because there was no wage increase percentage greater than zero), and
(ii) for any subsequent calendar year in which an increase under paragraph (2) becomes effective the OASDI fund ratio is greater than 32.0 percent,

then each of the amounts described in subdivisions (I), (II), and (III) of paragraph (2)(A)(ii), as increased under paragraph (2) effective with the month of December in such subsequent calendar year, shall be further increased (effective with such month) by an additional percentage, which shall be determined under subparagraph (B) and shall apply as provided in subparagraph (C). Any amount so increased that is not a multiple of $0.10 shall be decreased to the next lower multiple of $0.10.

(B) The applicable additional percentage by which the amounts described in subdivisions (I), (II), and (III) of paragraph (2)(A)(ii) are to be further increased under subparagraph (A) in the subsequent calendar year involved shall be the amount derived by—

(i) subtracting (I) the compounded percentage benefit increases that were actually paid under paragraph (2) and this paragraph from (II) the compounded percentage benefit increases that would have been paid if all increases under paragraph (2) had been made on the basis of the CPI increase percentage,
(ii) dividing the difference by the sum of the compounded percentage in clause (i)(I) and 100 percent, and
(iii) multiplying such quotient by 100 so as to yield such applicable additional percentage (which shall be rounded to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent),

with the compounded increases referred to in clause (i) being measured—

(iv) in the case of amounts described in subdivision (I) of paragraph (2)(A)(ii), over the period beginning with the calendar year in which monthly benefits described in such subdivision were first increased on the basis of the wage increase percentage and ending with the year before such subsequent calendar year, and
(v) in the case of amounts described in subdivisions (II) and (III) of paragraph (2)(A)(ii), over the period beginning with the calendar year in which the individual whose primary insurance amount is increased under such subdivision (II) became eligible (as defined in subsection (a)(3)(B)) for the old-age or disability insurance benefit that is being increased under this subsection, or died before becoming so eligible, and ending with the year before such subsequent calendar year;

except that if the Commissioner of Social Security determines in any case that the application (in accordance with subparagraph (C)) of the additional percentage as computed under the preceding provisions of this subparagraph would cause the OASDI fund ratio to fall below 32.0 percent in the calendar year immediately following such subsequent year, the Commissioner shall reduce such applicable additional percentage to the extent necessary to ensure that the OASDI fund ratio will remain at or above 32.0 percent through the end of such following year.

(C) Any applicable additional percentage increase in an amount described in subdivision (I), (II), or (III) of paragraph (2)(A)(ii), made under this paragraph in any calendar year, shall thereafter be treated for all the purposes of this Act as a part of the increase made in such amount under paragraph (2) for that year.


[192] P.L. 75-162.

[193] P.L. 75-162 [as amended by P.L. 93-445].

[194] December 20, 1977 [P.L. 95-216, 91 Stat. 1509].

[195] P.L. 75-162 [as amended by P.L. 93-445].

[196] P.L. 75-162.

[197] P.L. 98-21.

[198] P.L. 83-591; however, §3121(k) was repealed by P.L. 98-21, §102(b)(2).

[199] See Vol. II, P.L. 92-603.

[200] P.L. 75-162.

[201] P.L. 75-162 [as amended by P.L. 93-445].

[202] P.L. 95-216, §201(f)(2); 91 Stat. 1521.

[203] See Vol. II, Title 5.

[204] P.L. 96-265.

[205] P.L. 98-21.

[206] P.L. 99-509.

[207] P.L. 101-508.