Appendix A

Glossary

administrative law judge:
A legally experienced official who presides over hearings and administrative appeals of Social Security Administration decisions.
AIME:
See average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
annuity:
An insurance product that provides a stream of income, sometimes for life.
appeal:
A procedure by which an applicant challenges a decision by the Social Security Administration. The appeals process has four main steps:
(1) reconsideration, (2) administrative law judge, (3) Appeals Council, (4) U.S. federal court (both the district court and the appropriate court of appeals).
Appeals Council:
The Social Security Administration adjudicative body that reviews appeals after hearings with an administrative law judge.
auxiliary benefits:
Benefits that go to family members, based on a worker’s earnings record with the Social Security Administration. Also known as family benefits.
average indexed monthly earnings (AIME):
A dollar amount based on past earnings for 35 years that have been indexed for wage growth and averaged. The annual average is then divided by 12 to get the monthly average or the AIME. AIME is a key to the Social Security benefits computation.
bend points:
The dollar amounts defining the average indexed monthly earnings brackets (in the primary insurance amount formula) or the primary insurance amount brackets (in the maximum family benefit formula).
beneficiary:
An individual who receives benefits.
breadwinner: ...

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