20 CFR § 404.212 - Computing your primary insurance amount from your average indexed monthly earnings.
(b) Benefit formula.
(1) We use the applicable benefit formula in appendix II for the year you reach age 62, become disabled, or die whichever occurs first. If you die before age 62, and your surviving spouse or surviving divorced spouse is first eligible after 1984, we may compute the primary insurance amount, for the purpose of paying benefits to your widow(er), as if you had not died but reached age 62 in the second year after the indexing year that we computed under the provisions of § 404.211(d)(4). We will not use this primary insurance amount for computing benefit amounts for your other survivors or for computing the maximum family benefits payable on your earnings record. Further, we will only use this primary insurance amount if it results in a higher widow(er)'s benefit than would result if we did not use this special computation.
(2) The dollar amounts in the benefit formula are automatically increased each year for persons who attain age 62, or who become disabled or die before age 62 in that year, by the same percentage as the increase in the average of the total wages (see appendix I).
(3) We will publish benefit formulas for years after 1979 in the Federal Register at the same time we publish the average of the total wage figures. We begin to use a new benefit formula as soon as it is applicable, even before we periodically update appendix II.
(c) Computing your primary insurance amount from the benefit formula. We compute your primary insurance amount by applying the benefit formula to your average indexed monthly earnings and adding the results for each step of the formula. For computations using the benefit formulas in effect for 1979 through 1982, we round the total amount to the next higher multiple of $0.10 if it is not a multiple of $0.10 and for computations using the benefit formulas effective for 1983 and later years, we round to the next lower multiple of $0.10. (See paragraph (e) of this section for a discussion of the minimum primary insurance amount.)
(d) Adjustment of your primary insurance amount when entitlement to benefits occurs in a year after attainment of age 62, disability or death. If you (or your survivors) do not become entitled to benefits in the same year you reach age 62, become disabled, or die before age 62, we compute your primary insurance amount by -
(3) Applying to the primary insurance amount all automatic cost-of-living and ad hoc increases in primary insurance amounts that have gone into effect in or after the year you reached age 62, became disabled, or died before age 62. (See § 404.277 for special rules on minimum benefits, and appendix VI for a table of percentage increases in primary insurance amounts since December 1978. Increases in primary insurance amounts are published in the Federal Register and we periodically update appendix VI.)
(e) Minimum primary insurance amount. If you were eligible for benefits, or died without having been eligible, before 1982, your primary insurance amount computed under this method cannot be less than $122. This minimum benefit provision has been repealed effective with January 1982 for most workers and their families where the worker initially becomes eligible for benefits in that or a later month, or dies in January 1982 or a later month without having been eligible before January 1982. For members of a religious order who are required to take a vow of poverty, as explained in 20 CFR 404.1024, and which religious order elected Social Security coverage before December 29, 1981, the repeal is effective with January 1992 based on first eligibility or death in that month or later.