Your Options: Working Applying For Retirement Benefits Or Both
Choosing when to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits is an important decision. Theres no one choice that works for everyone because your lifestyle, finances, and goals are not the same as others.
Do you want to retire early, stay on the job, or work beyond retirement age?
Should you start receiving retirement benefits now, or wait until you can receive a higher benefit amount?
These are important questions youll need to answer as you plan for your retirement. Consider the four options below to help you make the best decision.
Common Questions About Social Security
Thomas J Catalano is a CFP and Registered Investment Adviser with the state of South Carolina, where he launched his own financial advisory firm in 2018. Thomas’ experience gives him expertise in a variety of areas including investments, retirement, insurance, and financial planning.
Where To Mail A Social Security Application
Once you complete your form, you must send the document to the appropriate Social Security application mailing address. However, keep in mind that the address you must use is specific to your nearest SS office. You need to confirm that your local office receives your document. This is because there is not a general acceptance center that you mail your application into. If you need help finding a facility near you, use this sites Social Security office locator. Once you locate the agency, you can find its mailing address. If you have trouble locating an offices mailing address, remember you can always just go to the facility and submit your materials in person.
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Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.
How Do I Apply Online
You will need to prepare all the relevant documents, confirm you qualify, and make sure you meet the requirements to apply online.
Once you have done that, sign in to your my Social Security account, select apply for Retirement/Medicare. This could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
If you would like to take a break you can save your application as you go and come back later.
When you complete your application, make sure to submit it. A representative should contact you to update you or ask any further questions.
However, please be careful when taking ANY phone call about your Social Security benefits!!! Unfortunately, there are quite a few scams related to Social Security numbers. A Social Security officer will NEVER threaten you or say you will go to jail if you do not give them your personal information.
If you receive a phone call where someone says there is a charge against you, you will go to jail if you do not pay money or give us your information that is a scam! Hang up!
If you would like to confirm your application status it is safest to call the Social Security office yourself. If you initiate the call it is safer than receiving a call from someone you do not know.
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Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.
Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:
- Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
- Open a bank account in their name
- Get medical coverage for them
- Apply for government services for them
Keep your Social Security card in a safe place to protect yourself from identity theft.
When Can A Spouse Claim Spousal Benefits
You can claim spousal benefits as early as age 62, but you won’t receive as much as if you wait until your own full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you choose to claim spousal benefits at 62, you’d receive a benefit that’s equal to 32.5% of your spouse’s full benefit amount.
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The Bleak Future Of Social Security
Aggravated by the COVID pandemic, the Social Security trust fund most Americans rely on for their retirement will run out of money in 12 years, one year sooner than expected, according to the annual Social Security 2021 Trustees Report published on August 31, 2021. The pandemic also threatens to shrink retirement payments and increase health-care costs for older Americans, according to the Trustees.
The Treasury Department oversees two Social Security funds: Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds. These funds are intended to provide a source of income to former workers who have retired at the end of their careers or to those who cannot work due to a disability, respectively.
Social Security officials said that the Old-Age and Survivors trust fund is now able to pay scheduled benefits until 2033, one year earlier than reported last year. The Disability Insurance fund is estimated to be adequately funded through 2057, eight years earlier than in the report published in 2020.
In a press briefing, senior Biden administration officials said that a COVID-related spike in deaths among retirement-age Americans in 2020 helped keep the programs costs lower than projected. They also noted, however, that the long-term effects of the COVID pandemic on the Social Security trust funds is harder to project as costs and revenues return to their extended forecasts.
Information Needed To Apply
The application process should not take long, but you’ll need to have certain information on hand to make sure it goes smoothly, including the following when applicable:
- Date and place of birth
- Names and birthdays of children who are disabled, unmarried, and/or 18 or younger, or 18 or 19 and attending school full-time
- U.S. military service information if applicable
- Employer or self-employment details for the current year and prior two years
- Bank direct-deposit information
The form will also ask about additional income and whether you have previously applied for SSI, other Social Security benefits, or Medicare.
If you’re married, your spouse may qualify for spousal benefits from Social Security as well. You’ll also need your spouse’s Social Security number, birth date, and other pertinent information when you apply. If your spouse signs up for Social Security benefits, he or she will have to provide the same information about you, too. If you are divorced, you may have to include your ex-spouse’s information.
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How To File An Application For Social Security Retirement Benefits
- In person: You will need an appointment in order to apply in person for your Social Security benefits. You will need to find and contact your local SSA office to make an appointment. Call to find the local office.
- Online: You can apply for Social Security benefits online anytime you choose 24 hours a day/7 days a week. This is, in fact, the easiest way to do so, but be aware that you may not be able to apply for all your benefits online. You might, however, need to complete the application either in-person or on the phone. The online system will tell you how to proceed.
Social Security For Married Couples
The key difference is for couples in which one person earns less than the other and wants to base his or her benefits on the higher-earning spouse. In such cases, the limit on the lesser-earning spouses benefits is 50 percent of the higher-earning spouses benefit amount.
This holds true even if the lesser-earning spouse didnt hold a job outside the home.
This option makes sense if the difference between the couples income and subsequently their benefits is significant. If the lesser-earning spouses benefits equate to more than half of the higher-earning spouses benefits, he or she can claim based on their own income.
In other words, the lesser-earning spouse can claim the greater of these two possibilities.
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Who Can Qualify For Social Security Benefits
To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, in most cases:
- You must be 62+ years old, or disabled/unable to work, and
- You must have sufficient credits earned throughout your working life.3
To qualify for Social Security spousal retirement benefits:
- You must be married to a retired worker , and
- You must have a child under age 16 or a disabled child in your care, or
- You are 62+ years old.2
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you are under the age of 62:
- You must be 18+ years old and unable to work due to physical or mental disability, and
- Your condition is expected to last at least a year or may result in death.3
You may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits without earning the required 40 credits, depending on the circumstances. Your lifetime earnings and benefits help determine your monthly disability benefit amount.
To qualify for Social Security survivors benefits:
- You must be a widow or widower who is 60+ years old , or
- You must be a widow or widower caring for the deceaseds child who is under the age of 16 or disabled, or
- You must be a surviving divorced spouse , or
- A dependent parent who is 62+ years old, or
- You must be an unmarried child of the deceased and are:
- Under 18 years old , or
- 18+ years old with a disability that occurred before you turned 22.3
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How Does The Social Security System Work
Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Money paid in by current workers is used to pay the benefits for current retirees. Any money that remains goes into the Social Security Trust Fund, to be used in future years when current contributions wont be sufficient to cover all of the programs obligations.
There are two trust funds: the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, which pays retirement benefits, and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. By law, the money in the trust funds is invested in U.S. government securities.
Applying For Social Security
- Generally, you should apply for Social Security retirement benefits three months before you want your benefits to begin. Even if you dont plan to receive benefits right away, you should still sign up for Medicare three months before you reach age 65.
- If you were born before 1938 and you meet all other requirements, you can receive benefits beginning with the first full month you are age 62. However, if you choose to begin receiving benefits before age 65, your benefits will be reduced to account for the longer period over which you will be paid.
- The full retirement age is 65 for persons born before 1938. The age gradually rises until it reaches 67 for persons born in 1960 or later. Social Security benefits are payable at full retirement age for anyone with enough Social Security credits. As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count towards eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. People who delay retirement beyond full retirement age get special credit for each month they dont receive a benefit until they reach age 70.
- To find out what your retirement age is, use the Social Security Retirement Age Chart at www.ssa.gov
- You should speak with a Social Security representative in the year before you plan to retire. It may be to your advantage to start receiving your retirement benefits before you actually stop working.
ave questions? Call at 874-4618.
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If You Don’t Have All Of The Documents
Even if you don’t have everything, don’t delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits. You can provide the missing documents later. We may be able to help you get them.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you or find other ways to get the information we need.
If you delay signing up, you could lose some benefits you may be due.
Can Two Wives Collect Social Security From One Husband
Men and women are typically shocked when they learn this is permissible, she says. Moreover, both a current wife and an ex-wife can claim on the same husband’s Social Security benefits and they don’t have to divvy up the money, says Mantell, who holds the National Social Security Advisor designation.
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How Is My Social Security Benefit Amount Calculated
Another common Social Security benefits question is how payments are calculated based on your lifetime earnings. To account for changes in average wages each year, the Social Security Administration , indexes your income using the national average wage index.
The SSA calculates your average indexed monthly earnings based on the 35 years in which you earned the most. A formula generates your basic benefits, otherwise known as your primary insurance amount. This primary insurance amount is what you would receive at your full retirement age. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, full retirement age is between age 66 and 67. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.5
How And When To Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits
Syndicated columnist, NBC Today contributor and creator of SavvySenior.org
Dear Savvy Senior,
What is the easiest way to apply for my Social Security retirement benefits, and how far in advance do I need to apply before I start collecting?
The Social Security Administration offers three different ways you can apply for your retirement and/or spouses benefits, depending on your preference and how much help you need. Heres a rundown of the options, along with a list of information youll need to apply, and when to fill out the application.
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What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
C You Can Continue Working And Not Receive Your Retirement Benefits
If you decide to continue working and not start your benefits until after full retirement age, your benefits will increase for each month you do not receive them until you reach age 70. There is no incentive to delay filing for your benefits after age 70. Continuing to work may also increase your benefits, because your current earnings could replace an earlier year of lower or no earnings, which can result in a higher benefit amount.
If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Original Medicare three months before you turn 65. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible at age 65, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.
However, if you or your spouse are still working and covered under an employer-provided group health plan, talk to your personnel office before signing up for Medicare Part B. Once the covered employment ends, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B. If so, you wont have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
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The Easiest Way To Apply For Retirement Benefits Is Online
If you’re ready to retire and start receiving a Social Security check, first make sure that you’re eligible to apply for benefits. You must be a maximum of three months away from your 62nd birthday, and you must also be ready to start taking your benefits within the next four months.