How Can I Maximize My Social Security?
Though the answers to this question will vary depending on your situation, there are many decisions you can make that could help you maximize your Social Security benefits when the time comes.
Five Common Mistakes with Social Security
According to recent figures, a worker retiring at full retirement age (now 66) can receive as much as $2,533 a month from Social Security, or over $30,000 a year. The benefits are also indexed to inflation, so retirees have some shelter from increases in their cost of living. (Information gathered from www.financial-planning.com)
Retiring early may be the desire of some, but doing so can reduce the income you will receive from your social security benefits. An article from CNN Money explains more.
Timing matters. For example, the spouse with the higher lifetime earnings might start benefits at age 66. Even with much lower lifetime earnings, the other spouse could receive as much as 50% of that amount. (Information gathered from www.financial-planning.com)
Yes, your Social Security benefits will be taxed. There is a complicated formula in the tax code that determines how much of your benefits will be taxed. It ranges between 0 and 85%. When you carefully determine which accounts to draw retirement income from in which order, and coordinate this decision with when you take Social Security, you can reduce the amount of taxes you pay over your retirement years. Unfortunately, many do not take the time to do this kind of withdrawal planning, and so they pay more tax than they would otherwise have to. (Information gathered from moneyover55.about.com)
As a married couple, the higher benefit amount will continue for the longest spouse to live. This means it is important to maximize the benefit of the highest earner, as it can provide a powerful form of life insurance: inflation adjusted income for as long as a surviving spouse needs it. Don’t claim early without considering the impact on a long-lived spouse. (Information gathered from moneyover55.about.com)
Five Common Questions
If you are 62 years old you can apply to receive Social Security retirement benefits as an individual or as a spouse on a husband or wife’s record. Additionally, an applicant may be entitled to file for social security retirement benefits on the record of another individual as a divorced spouse or widowed spouse provided they were were married to that individual for ten years or more. Widows and Widowers may be entitled to a survivor benefit at the age of sixty provided they have not remarried before the age of 60. Also, a disabled widow or widower may receive a disability benefit on the record of a deceased spouse at age 50 provided they have not remarried prior to age 50.
Your social security retirement benefit will be reduced by roughly a half percent for every month you take your benefit earlier than your full retirement age. For instance, if you decide to take your social security retirement benefit at the age of 62, the benefit you will receive will be roughly 76 percent of what would otherwise have been your full social security retirement benefit. The reduction to your retirement benefit depends upon your month of entitlement which is the month where you begin to receive Social Security retirement benefits.
No, unlike the SSI (supplemental security income) program which is need-based and provides a standard benefit amount, social security retirement provides a monthly benefit, for those who qualify, based on the following:
-The reported lifetime earnings of a social security number holder
-The month in which the individual chooses to begin receiving their social security retirement benefit
The simple answer to this question is yes. However, it is your responsibility to report work/earnings to the Social Security administration in January or February of each year, and any time your earnings are higher than previously estimated.
A Social Security retirement full benefit amount is a computational amount that is based on an individual’s best thirty-five years of earnings. Once a retirement full benefit amount has been computed and established, an individual’s age of entitlement (when they actually go on retirement) will determine the specific monthly benefit amount they will receive .
Retirees who elect to receive their retirement benefits early will have their monthly benefit amount reduced by ½ percent for each month prior to full retirement age. Consequently, an individual who chooses to receive an early retirement benefit will usually receive about 76.7 percent of their full monthly retirement benefit.
These questions and more can be found at ssdrc.com
Links to Helpful Sources