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How Old You Got To Be To Draw Social Security

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Social Security Benefits For Surviving Spouses

When Can I Retire and Collect Social Security? What’s The Best Age?

If your spouse was receiving Social Security benefits upon their death, you must report the death as soon as possible. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays or visit your local Social Security office in person.

You are eligible for a one-time, lump-sum death benefit of $255 from Social Security if:

  • You were receiving benefits on your spouses record at the time of death, or
  • If you were living in the same household as your spouse at the time of death.

Any benefits received in the name of your spouse during the month of death or later must be returned to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible.

If your spouse worked long enough under Social Security, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. You must be age 60 or older or disabled and 50 or older to qualify.

How much youll receive depends on the percentage of your spouses benefit as well as your age and the type of benefit youre eligible for.

You must apply for survivor benefits in person. You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment.

Who Is Eligible For Social Security Retirement Benefits

The U.S. Congress passed the 1935 Social Security Act as a way to supplement retirement earnings for primary working Americans. The original law also included the nations first unemployment insurance program as well as several health and welfare programs. Shortly thereafter, the law was changed to add survivor benefits for spouses and children, and in 1956 disability benefits were also added.

The Social Security Administration now serves 60 million Americans who will receive $870 billion in benefits in 2015.

The administration of such a large benefits program can be complicated at times, with numerous special instances, exceptions and nuances that can impact how benefits are disbursed to recipients.

This guide will introduce applicants to the basics of applying for Social Security retirement benefits and answer many of the common questions that arise when first considering to apply for benefits.

It will also address many special circumstances that can arise involving spouses and children, specific circumstances regarding timing, amounts, and maximizing benefits while also offering a comprehensive list of resources that may prove valuable throughout the Social Security retirement benefits process.

Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits

Most people know that you pay tax into the Social Security Trust Fund throughout your career, but some retirees don’t realize that you also have to pay tax on your Social Security benefits once you start taking them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then.

It doesn’t take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. For example, a married couple with a combined income of more than $32,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Higher earners may have to pay income tax on up to 85% of their benefits.

You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.

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Try This Life Expectancy Calculator For Social Security

Retirement benefit calculations are based on extensive actuarial studies and data. As a service to the public, the Social Security Administration has developed a simple Life Expectancy Calculator that allows you to plug in your gender and date of birth to get a rough estimate of how long you may live.

Knowing this information may help you in deciding when the right time is to apply for retirement benefits.

To use the Calculator, go to

How A Lawyer With Our Firm Can Help You Apply For Disability Benefits

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An attorney from our firm can offer assistance as you prepare an application for Social Security disability benefits. We can help you determine whether you have enough work credits for SSDI or should apply for SSI benefits. The law does not require you to work with a lawyer on the application and evaluation process for disability benefits, but having someone guide you can make the process go smoother.

Every year, thousands of qualifying individuals are denied Social Security Disability benefits because of errors they made on their applications. Many people have to appeal a denial of benefits to get the assistance they need. Our team can help you avoid this costly mistake or represent you during your appeal if you have already received a denial.

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Is My Spouse Eligible To Receive Social Security Spousal Benefits

Spouses are eligible to receive 50 percent of their spouses full retirement benefit if they wait until they reach full retirement age. If they apply for a spousal retirement benefit before that time, the amount is pro-rated, depending on the age at which the spouse applies. For example:

If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 67, the applicant will get 32.5 percent of the spousal benefit.

If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 65, the applicant will get 37.5 percent of the spousal benefit.

The benefit increases as ages go up, to a maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. It should also be noted that only one spouse can apply for a spouses benefit when a couple is married.

In cases of divorce, the divorced spouse can get retirement benefits on the spouses record if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. To collect this benefit, the spouse must be at least 62 years old and not married. That benefit does not impact the amount a spouse and their current married partner can get.

The Big Question: When Should I Apply For Retirement Benefits

The single biggest decision youll make when it comes to Social Security retirement benefits is when to apply.

Every persons situation is unique and so theres no single right answer. In general terms and based on life expectancies, Social Security retirement benefits are calculated to give you approximately the same total amount of benefits over your lifetime. If you decide to draw benefits earlier in your life, your average monthly amount will be less than if you delay and draw benefits later in life.

The amount you receive can vary widely. For example, if you were born in 1953 or 1954 and you were entitled to draw a $1,000 benefit at your full retirement age of 66, that amount would be $750 if you decided to draw benefits starting at age 62. But in that same scenario, if you delayed benefits until age 70, the amount would jump to $1,350.

There is no exact science when deciding when to apply, but here are some things to consider as you decide whats best for you.

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Paying Taxes On Your Retirement Benefits

Social Security retirement benefit recipients must pay Federal income taxes on their benefits. Due to personal income levels, about one-third of recipients actually have to pay some amount annually.

Each year, the Social Security Administration will mail recipients a Form SSA-1099 that shows the amount of benefits received during the preceding year. This form should be used to complete tax returns and help determine in any taxes are owed.

As a general rule, if you file as an individual and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000 you may be required to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of your benefits.

If you file a joint return and you and your spouses income is between $32,000 and $44,000, then 50 percent of your benefits may be taxed. If your combined income is about $44,000, then up to 85 percent of your benefits may be subject to income tax.

To assist with tax planning, Social Security can withhold Federal taxes throughout the year for benefit recipients which may be preferable to making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Is Your Full Retirement Age Affected By Where You Live

When You Should Start Drawing On Social Security

Your FRA is not affected by where you live. Most Social Security rules, including those that determine benefit amount and claiming age, are set by federal law. However, some states do tax Social Security benefits, so where you live can affect tax levels on your retirement income. But again, the age at which you claim benefits won’t affect your tax rate — your income is the key factor.

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Social Security Retirement Age : If You Are A Widow/widower

If you are a widow or widower, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as 60. If you have not reached your full retirement age, and you are still working and earn more than the earnings limit, your benefits will be reduced. Once you reach full retirement age, no more reductions will apply, regardless of how much you work and earn. Those working will want to consider waiting until their full retirement age to begin widow/widower benefits.

One option available to widows/widowers is to file a restricted application, which means you can begin one type of benefit, such as a survivor benefit then when you reach 70, you can switch over to your retirement benefit amount if it would be larger.

How Much Can I Earn If I Retire At 62 In 2021

Social Security beneficiaries who continue to work will be able to earn $720 more in 2021 before part of their Social Security benefit is temporarily withheld. Social Security recipients age 65 and younger can earn up to $18,960 in 2021 before a benefit dollar is withheld for every $2 earned above the limit.

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Working After Full Retirement Age Faq

Retirees may work while collecting Social Security benefits, but those younger than their FRA will be subject to the retirement earnings test .

Under this test, if your earnings exceed a certain limit , you will temporarily forfeit some or all of your benefits. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefit is recalculated and you may receive most of that money back.

How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned

How old will you be when the Social Security fund runs out?

To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 “credits” throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits each year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.

In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.

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Supplemental Security Income For Those Aged 65 & Older

Theres another benefit called Supplemental Security Income that people can qualify for once theyre at least 65 years old. People traditionally refer to SSI as welfare, and it pays no more than $794/month. Once you hit the magic age of 65, you can apply for SSI payments if:

  • Your current income is less than $1,310
  • You have less than $2,000 in countable assets

To apply for SSI, youll need to call your local Social Security office and speak to an agent on the phone. You can find the right number to call by visiting the SSAs office locator page and entering your current ZIP code.

If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66

You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.

The chart below provides examples of the percentage of your full retirement benefit amount you and your spouse would receive from age 62 up to your full retirement age.

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Can A Wife Draw Husbands Social Security While He Is Alive

You may be eligible to receive a Social Security survivor benefit equal to the full benefit your spouse was receiving. If you are married and your spouse passes away, the surviving spouse will keep the higher of the two Social Security payments, says Steve Sexton, CEO of Sexton Advisory Group in Temecula, California.

When Can I Start Collecting Social Security

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The minimum age to claim benefits is 62. If you are turning 62 and need the income from Social Security to support yourself, then you can start claiming your benefits now. However, if you have enough other income to keep you going until you are older, you may want to delay increasing the size of your monthly benefit.

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Survivor Benefits For A Child

Social Security provides a survivor benefit for spouses of deceased people as well as their children in some cases. The Social Security Administration refers to this benefit as survivor’s insurance workers pay for it with their Social Security taxes. The child survivor benefit is available regardless of whether the parent was the father or mother.

To qualify for monthly Social Security benefits, a child must be unmarried and under age 18. Those between 18 and 19 still qualify if they are full-time students at an elementary or secondary school. Surviving children who are disabled and unable to work may be eligible for benefits over age 18. The onset of their disability must be before age 22.

In addition to biological children, a deceased workers grandchildren, stepchildren and adopted children may also qualify for a survivor benefit. For grandchildren to qualify, their biological parents usually must be disabled or deceased. Grandchildren also must have been living with their deceased grandparent before age 18 to receive survivor benefits following the grandparents death. The Social Security Administration should be contacted with specific questions about child eligibility.

If Your Spouse Passes Away After Starting Social Security:

If you have started Social Security, meaning both you and your spouse are collecting Social Security checks, and your spouse dies, the smaller check will go away.

For example, Mike and Colleen are both 69 years old and have started their Social Security benefits. Mikes benefit is $3,000 a month and Colleens benefit is $1,500 a month.

If Mike passes away first, Colleen will start receiving the $3,000 check, but the $1,500 check will go away. If Colleen passes first, the $1,500 check also goes away.

No matter what happens, when one part of the couple dies, there will be a significant loss of income. We recommend everyone in retirement have at least $25,000 worth of life insurance to make up for this immediate loss of income.

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How Much Can You Make And Draw Social Security At 62

If youre younger than full retirement age, there is a limit to how much you can earn and Page 3 2 still receive full Social Security benefits. If youre younger than full retirement age during all of 2021, we must deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $18,960.

Why do so many people claim social security at 62?

  • The simplest explanation for why so many people claim Social Security at 62 is because they cant claim benefits any earlier. Many people count the days until they can get benefits because they need this money to leave the workforce or to survive comfortably if theyve already been forced out of a job.

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When do I become eligible for benefits?

  • As a worker: You must work and pay Social Security taxes for at least 10 years , and be at least 62 years old.
  • As a spouse or divorced spouse: You must be at least 62 years old. If you are divorced, you must have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years and currently be unmarried.
  • As a widow: You must be at least 60 years old . If you are divorced, you can claim the survivors benefit if you were married at least 10 years and are currently unmarried .

If I qualify for more than one benefit, can I receive the total amount of both?

No. You will receive the benefit amount that provides you with the higher monthly benefit, but you do not receive both benefits added together.

When can I receive Social Security retirement benefits?You may receive full benefits at full retirement age. Full retirement age is increasing gradually until it reaches age 67 for those who were born 1960 or later. See the chart below.

Year of Birth
67

What happens to my benefit if I claim early?

If you start your benefits early, your benefits are reduced permanently. Your benefit is reduced about one-half of one percent for each month you start your Social Security before your full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you sign up for Social Security when you are 62, you would only get 70% percent of your full benefit.

What happens to my benefit if I delay claiming it?

Can I work and still receive my Social Security benefit?

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How To Calculate Social Security Benefits

Lets say your FRA is 66. If you start claiming benefits at age 66 and your full monthly benefit is $2,000, then youll get $2,000 per month. If you start claiming benefits at age 62, which is 48 months early, then your benefit will be reduced to 75% of your full monthly benefitalso called your primary insurance amount. In other words, youll get 25% less per month, and your check will be $1,500.

That reduced benefit wont increase once you reach age 66. Rather, youll continue to receive it for the rest of your life. It may go up over time due to cost-of-living adjustments , but only slightly. You can do the math for your own situation using the Social Security Administration Early or Late Retirement Calculator, one of a number of benefit calculators provided by the SSA that can also help you determine your FRA, the SSAs estimate of your life expectancy for benefit calculations, rough estimates of your retirement benefits, individualized projections of your benefits based on your personal work record, and more.

Although the cost-of-living adjustments announced each year are usually only slight increases, Social Security benefits will increase by 5.9% in 2022, marking the largest increase since 1982.

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