<<would appreciate a clear statement on whether or not unearned income factors into the ss payout amt.>>Unearned income (i.e. dividends, capitol gains, interest) ARE NOT used in determining your monthly benefit amount (payout). They are used in calculating your adjusted gross income for IRS purposes which in turn in used to calculate whether or not you pay taxes on your monthly SS benefit. Hope this clarifies it, even though I know it's not the answer you want to hear.
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