Waiting To Claim Social Security Can Increase Your Payout
Let’s say John, who was born in 1955, is in good health and enjoys his job. John’s full retirement age is exactly 66 and two months, at which point he can claim 100% of his monthly Social Security benefit of $1,500. John decides to continue working for a few more years, until his 69th birthday, and delays his benefit.
By the time John claims his Social Security benefit at 69, his monthly payout will be $1,840, 122.7% of his full retirement-age benefit. By delaying, John increased his monthly Social Security income by about $340. Note that the rules are different for spouses consult the Social Security website for details.
Anyone can create a free My Social Security account to find out what their pretax monthly Social Security benefit will be, based on current earnings, and see how that could change depending on the date they leave work. For those in good health or with a greater chance of longevity, it may be worth it to hold out.
Research from United Income found that elderly poverty could be cut in half if every retiree claimed Social Security at the “financially optimal time.” The report said retirees stood to lose a collective $2.1 trillion in wealth, or about $68,000 per household, because they chose to claim Social Security benefits at the wrong time, which, for many, is before their full retirement age.
You’re Planning Your End
Your Social Security benefits stop paying at your death, so if you die prior to collecting benefits, you’ll have missed out on benefits entirely. You need to figure out how to maximize your Social Security income, instead. For example, say you’re planning to wait until age 70 so you can claim the larger monthly benefit. If you die right before your 70th birthday, you won’t receive any benefits. It’s very difficult to predict how long you’ll live, especially if you’re in good health now. However, if you are suffering from a terminal or serious illness, the increased monthly benefit for delaying Social Security might not be worth it.
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.
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Benefits May Be Taxable
You will have to pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return and you and your spouse make more than $32,000 jointly, you will have to pay taxes on your benefits. For more information, call the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-3676.
Benefit Amounts Vary Depending On Your Social Security Retirement Age
Your Social Security retirement age and the amount you receive varies depending on several factors. For example, the earliest age you can collect your Social Security retirement benefits is 62, but there is an exception for widows and widowers, who can begin benefits as early as 60. If you start collecting benefits early and continue to work, your benefits may be reduced.
Here’s how this works with the basics on Social Security claiming ages from 60 to 70.
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You Can’t Work Anymore
Even the best retirement financial plans and projections can go awry. For example, you might have planned on working until you’re 70 so you could maximize your retirement benefits. If you get laid off at 62, however, and have difficulty finding another job, you might need to start taking your benefits just to get by.
Additionally, continuing to work in your industry simply might not be possible or healthy for you later in life. If your job requires manual labor, you might decide the risk of injury or other damage to your health isn’t worth continuing to work. In this case, the healthier lifestyle you’ll get by retiring early could outweigh the smaller monthly Social Security benefit.
Can I Retire At 55 And Take Money From A 401 Or Ira
Saving money in a 401 and/or Individual Retirement Account can help to fund your early retirement goals. But you may run into a snag when trying to take money from those accounts before age 59 ½.
First, theres the Rule of 55. This IRS rule says that if you get fired, laid off or quit your job in the year that you turn 55 you can withdraw money from your current 401 or 403 without a penalty. But you still wouldnt be able to tap any money in 401 plans you had at former employers without a penalty before age 59 ½. The only way to work around this would be rolling your old 401 or 403 into your current one before you retire.
If you have a traditional IRA, you generally cant take money out of it before age 59 ½ without a penalty unless you qualify for certain exceptions. With a Roth IRA, you can always withdraw your original contributions tax- and penalty-free. But to do that, the account must have been open for at least five years beforehand. Otherwise, youll need to wait until age 59 ½ to withdraw earnings without a penalty unless you qualify for an exception.
This means youll need to have savings and investments outside of these plans you can tap. An online brokerage account could be a good place to start. But remember that selling investments at a profit can trigger capital gains tax. You could also supplement a brokerage account with regular savings accounts, money market accounts, cash value life insurance or an annuity.
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What To Consider Before Filing For Social Security
A larger benefit check sounds great, but there are tradeoffs, and soon-to-retire folks should consider multiple issues before they decide one way or the other on when to file. If you really want to consider all the avenues, then youll have to think about your finances and longevity two issues that people have a hard time grappling with.
But heres the key trade-off: you can file early and take a reduced benefit, expecting that a shorter life span will mean you receive more now, or you could file at full retirement age or later and claim a bigger check, and eventually live long enough to claim more than the first approach.
Social Security is like longevity insurance, says Brent Neiser, a Certified Financial Planner and former chair of the Consumer Advisory Board at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its a stream of payments that will not stop throughout your life, so delaying your benefits to keep those payments as large as possible forms a helpful base to your retirement plan.
Neiser urges those who have not saved enough for retirement to use whatever means possible to postpone their Social Security benefits until after their full retirement age to help boost their future income.
You can use personal savings to help bridge the gap, but ideally you should plan to work a little longer , Neiser says.
How To Get A Social Security Card
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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.
Will Full Retirement Age Change Again
Though the last legislative change to full retirement age was in 1983, Carroll warns that a future increase in full retirement age is a likely component of a comprehensive Social Security reform package. The culprit for this likely change is our increasing longevity.
More people are living long enough to claim Social Security than in the past, and theyre then spending more years receiving benefits. This makes the program significantly more expensive today than when it was founded, Carroll says. To keep Social Security solvent and provide the same level of benefits, the bar to receive Social Security either needs to rise, taxes have to increase or both.
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You Need To Pay Down Debt
There are some debts you need to tackle before you retire. If you have high-interest debt, claiming Social Security early can help you pay the debt down. Depending on the interest rate youre paying, the 8% yearly boost to your benefits that you receive for each year you wait past full retirement age might not be worth the increased monthly benefit. Using the early benefits to reduce or eliminate your debt earlier could mean youll be able to keep more of your benefits in the future.
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Can I Work After Full Retirement Age
Beneficiaries are free to continue working while taking their Social Security benefits, no matter what age they start taking those benefits. However, working and taking Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age may affect your benefits.
If you start taking Social Security early but keep working, youre subject to whats called an earnings test. For every $2 you earn over $18,960, you will see $1 withheld in Social Security benefits. And in the year you reach full retirement age, this limit changes to $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above $50,520 up to the month of your birthday.
Once you reach full retirement age, though, you can keep every dollar of your Social Security benefits, no matter how much income you bring in. Your future benefits will also be adjusted to include the money that the earnings test previously factored out.
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Claiming Social Security Benefits At The Right Time Means More Money In Your Pocket Here’s A Guide To Everything From Knowing Your Full Retirement Age To Taking Social Security Spousal Benefits
For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income so maximizing this stream of income is critical.
The rules for claiming Social Security benefits can be complex, but this guide will help you successfully navigate the details. Educating yourself can ensure that you claim the maximum amount to which you are entitled.
Here are 12 essential details you need to know.
How Much Is Your Benefit Reduced If You Collect Early
This depends on your FRA. This chart provided by the SSA explains the reduction to your retirement benefits caused by making withdrawals as early as possible, at age 62.
For example, if you are born in 1955, your FRA is 66 years and 2 months.
If you start receiving Social Security benefits when you are eligible at age 62, you will receive just 74.2% of your full retirement benefit.
If the same individual, born in 1955, waits one more year to receive Social Security retirement benefits, until age 63, the percent of their full retirement benefit they are getting jumps from 74.2% to 79.2%.
One year makes a difference.
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Should I Take Survivor Benefits At 60
If You Haven’t Applied for Retirement Benefits Yet If both payouts currently are about the same, it may be best to take the survivor benefit at age 60. It’s going to be reduced because you’re taking it early, but you can collect that benefit from age 60 to age 70 while your own retirement benefit continues to grow.
What Else Affects Your Retirement Benefits
Everyones retirement is unique. Beyond deciding when to begin receiving retirement benefits, other factors that can affect your benefits include whether you continue to work, what type of job you had, and if you have a pension from certain jobs.
Continuing To Work
You can choose to keep working beyond your full retirement age. If you do, you can increase your future Social Security benefits. Each extra year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings can mean higher benefits when you choose to receive benefits.
Specific Types Of Earnings
While Social Security earnings are calculated the same way for most American workers, there are some types of earnings that have additional rules.
Earning types with special rules include:
Pensions And Other Factors
Pensions and taxes have the potential to impact your retirement benefit. Review the resources below on pensions and other factors you should consider:
- Windfall Elimination Provision : If you have a pension from a job for which you didnt pay Social Security taxes, this policy may lower your retirement benefits.
- Government Pension Offset : This policy affects benefits as a spouse, widow, or widower if you have a pension from a government job for which you didnt pay Social Security taxes.
- Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefits: You might have to pay federal income taxes on your Social Security benefits in certain situations.
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Effect Of Late Retirement On Benefits
1.Represents Full Retirement Age based on DOB Jan. 2, 1955
2.PIA = The primary insurance amount is the basis for benefits that are paid to an individual
To review your situation, your annual Social Security statement will list your projected benefits at age 62, full retirement age, and age 70, assuming you continue to work and earn about the same amount until age 62, full retirement age, or age 70 before retiring. If you need a copy of your annual statement, you can request one from the Social Security Administration .
You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex
Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings. You can receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record if you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and you are single.
Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouse’s benefit — less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex-spouse’s record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your ex’s new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still start collecting Social Security based on the ex’s record, though you must have been divorced for at least two years.
Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.
A claiming strategy if youre divorced: Exes at full retirement age who were born on January 1, 1954, or earlier can apply to restrict their application to a spousal benefit while letting their own benefit grow.
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What If I Want To Work In Retirement
Sometimes leaving the workforce is neither feasible nor appealing. Thats why some retirees find part-time jobs to pass the time or earn extra money.
Getting a part-time job after retiring early may reduce your benefit amount until you reach full retirement age. The SSA may withhold a certain amount of money from your benefit check if your earnings exceed the annual limit. For 2021, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above $18,960. If youll reach your full retirement age in 2021, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earn above a different limit up until the month you turn 67. For a comparison, benefits were reduced in 2020 by $1 for every $2 earned above $18,240, and reduced by $1 for every $3 earned above $48,600 for those who reached full retirement age that year.
The SSA doesnt penalize working retirees forever. Youll receive all of the benefits the government withheld after you reach your full retirement age. At that time, the SSA recalculates your benefit amount.