Q: Do Social Security retirement amounts change based on what state you live in?
A: No. Your retirement amount is based on your personal work history over many years and your age when starting benefits, not on where you live. It will not change if you move to a different state.
Your best 35 years of work are key when your retirement benefit is computed. These best 35 years, often including years immediately before retirement but selected from your full work history, are weighted for inflation and used to compute your Social Security retirement amount as if you were full retirement age (FRA). If you do not have 35 years of work, zeros are added in to reach 35 years.
When your full retirement age amount is known, the specific amount for the month you are starting Social Security is determined by reducing or increasing the FRA amount, depending on if you are younger or older than FRA for the month when benefits start. Go to the SSA Retirement Planner section to estimate your own Social Security retirement amount.
Once receiving Social Security benefits, any cost-of-living increase is computed nationally based on changes in a consumer price index from one year to the next, not where you live.
In a related manner, benefits to you if disabled or survivors benefits to your family if you die are also based on your personal work history and not where you live.
Your Social Security work record is based on employer W-2 reports or your Schedule SE tax return if self-employed. Check it for accuracy by creating a personal my Social Security account at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/ and viewing your SSA Statement.
Earnings for 2014 will not show on your record until approximately October 2015. It is very important for your future benefits that your work record be accurate. If it has an error, contact your local office to correct it.