With a little forethought and planning, it is possible to get the most money possible from this important program. One simple way to increase the money you get from the program is to pick the right age to apply. It’s possible to apply three months before you turn 62 and begin receiving the payments after your 62nd birthday. However, waiting a little longer can increase the amount of money you get each month from the Social Security Administration.
The Best Age to Apply for Social Security
The age that you will be entitled to the largest payments from the SSA varies depending on when you were born. For people born before 1960, the SSA considers the retirement age’ to be 66. The normal retirement age is 67 for people born in 1960 or later. If you retire before the age of 66 you will not be eligible to get the largest payment to which you are entitled. For every year you wait after age 66 to apply, the SSA adds an additional 8% to your payments up until age 70. So applying at age 70 gets you the largest payment possible.
What Else are You Entitled to
If you are married, it’s possible to collect payments as a spouse first. Later you can switch and begin getting payments based on the income you earned during your working years. However, you must wait until your normal retirement age to apply for spousal payments. You can collect spousal payments until age 70 then apply for payment from the SSA based on your own earnings record. People who file before they reach normal retirement age can only receive one payment. Choose the higher amount between the spousal payment or the payment from personal earnings. You cannot receive both.
When it Pays to File Early
Filing for payments before reaching full retirement age can work out well for some married couples. For example, the wife might decide to retire early and take the reduced payment. When the husband gets to full retirement age, it’s possible to file for the spousal payments on her account. At age 70, he can go ahead and switch to his own retirement account if it is larger. Using this strategy is beneficial depending on the ages of each spouse and which one had been the higher earner during their years in the workforce.
Maximizing Payments for Divorced People
A person who is divorced can put in an application for spousal or survivor’s benefits based on the earnings record of their ex. They would have had to be married for 10 years or more and not currently married. If the ex-spouse remarries after age 60, they are still entitled to put in an application for the survivor’s payments from their ex-spouse. The ex-spouse who has died has to have been eligible to receive payments from the SSA. Whether or not he or she had retired. By law, the ex-spouse is entitled to the payments because they were married while they paid a significant amount into the social security system.
If Your Spouse Dies
If one spouse had been collecting spousal payments from the SSA and the other spouse dies, the person can then apply to get the payment given to a survivor. This is true only if it is larger than the payments they had been receiving. In order for them to get the maximum allowed, the surviving spouse should think about putting off their claim until they have reached their full retirement age.
With a little research, financial advice and by playing with the numbers, people approaching retirement age can find several ways to maximize their social security benefits.
Applying For Social Security
There are several ways that you can apply for social security benefits, the easiest way that many people find to apply is to simply fill out the online application. You can also apply on the phone as well. It’s important that when you apply, that you have all the necessary documents proving that you are eligible for benefits.
These documents may include your birth certificate as well as employment information. You will also have to list any sources of income that you may be receiving as well. If you have children you will also have to provide information about your kids as well. These steps are just to ensure that you are eligible.
Utilize Retirement Planning
It is also important that you utilize all your resources. There are many retirement planning websites out there that can help you through the process of applying for social security. It can be somewhat of a daunting task for those that are unfamiliar with how the system works.
Meeting the Age Requirements
Some people may think that they can be any age and apply for social security. This is not true. You must be at least 62 years of age in order to receive these benefits. There are other benefits that you can receive at a younger age, such as medicaid or medicare, but you must meet the age requirements in order to receive social security.
Applying In Person
Because it can be a complicated process to apply for social security, many people find it best to apply in person. This is a great option for those that are elderly or don’t have access to the internet. When you apply in person, you will also have a representative that will help guide you the whole application process.
Applying in person is also a great option for those that are visually impaired or disabled. This will ensure that you get the best income based on your medical needs. Just make sure that when you go to the office that you bring all the necessary documents to prove you are eligible.
When to Apply
When you apply is crucial in maximizing your social security benefits. You can’t just apply one day and expect your benefits to start the next. There is typically a waiting period when you first start your benefits. This waiting period can be anywhere from 4-8 months. It’s important that you make sure you are eligible and apply BEFORE you need your benefits to start.
If you or a member of your family has served in the military, it is important you bring this up when you apply. If so, you may be eligible for certain benefits that others can’t have. You will need to provide documents that prove you have served. This will help you to maximize social security benefits.