Social Security benefits are one of the major sources of retirement income for most seniors.
This is the reason why most people are very eager to start taking their Social Security benefit as soon as they become eligible at age 62. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, about 72 % of retirees receive reduced benefits because they start their benefits before their full retirement age.
Here are some tips on how to get the highest possible benefit from your Social Security:
If you start your benefits early, meaning before your retirement age, your monthly benefit will be reduced permanently. Click here for more details.
If you are:
- not in immediate need of money
- and expect to live longer than 85 years old
You might want to delay collecting your Social Security benefits until you reach 70 years old. This will allow you to receive a yearly rate increase of up to 8% in benefits. As the saying goes, “It pays to be patient.”
To check your full retirement age, click here.
To check the percentage increase in your benefits, click here.
Typically, most jobs will withhold Social Security from your salary and as required by law, your employer will match that amount. So the longer you work, the more money you earn and the more funds you will receive for your retirement.
With this in mind, continue working after 62 if your health permits you to do so. This will help you earn extra cash instantly, which you can use for living expenses or for investing. In addition, this will possibly allow you to delay receiving your Social Security benefits until you turn 70 to get higher benefits.
Another advantage of working longer is it will help you replace your low earning years with high earning years. This will improve your average indexed monthly earnings, which determines your benefits.
Take note that even if you continue to work, you can still receive your Social Security benefits. Contact the Social Security Administration for more information.
If you want to see how your benefits will be affected when you continue to work after retirement, click here.
Couples with two incomes should learn how to strategize together in order to increase their benefits.
The spouse who will receive the lower benefit should be the one to collect earlier versus the spouse who is earning more. This means that the substantially higher-earning spouse should delay collecting benefits so the value will be higher. In the case that the primary wage earner dies, the other spouse will have an increased value in survivor benefits. To learn more about survivor’s benefit, click here.
On the other hand, for couples earning about the same amount as one another, the spouse intending to continue work after the full retirement age should apply for spousal Social Security benefits. The working spouse should then delay collecting his or her own benefits until he or she reaches age 70 as this will allow an increase in benefits upon retirement.
If you are currently not married and have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years, you may also receive a percentage of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. You could be eligible to receive up to 50% of your ex-spouses benefits. The nice thing about this benefit is that your ex-spouse does not even need to be informed as he or she will still continue to receive their benefits. Click here for more information.
When you qualify for your social security benefits, your children may qualify too. You can use this money to pay for your kids’ college or other expenses. Take note that your children may be eligible to collect benefits only up to the age of 19 as long as they are full-time high school students. To check whether your child is eligible, click here.
Before you decide when to start receiving your Social Security benefits, it is advisable to meet with a Social Security Administration representative. This will give you the opportunity to get information or clarification on questions you might have about your benefits. The representative will also be able to give you information on how much you will receive for different scenarios. This can help you determine the best time to start your benefits. To get the contact information for your local Social Security Office, click here.
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About the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!
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