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.
Congress Must Act Sooner Rather Than Later
In theory, the AWI problem could be fixed anytime before 2022, when, for example, workers who turn 60 this year are first eligible to retire at the age of 62. But that delay would cause significant anxiety for these workers, whose future benefits would be at risk. Moreover, people decide when to retire based on projections of their incomes in their initial year of retirement and in the remainder of their lives. It would be most unfair to workers decision-making processes to have the expectations of their future incomes be uncertain for some period of time while they are trying to make such an important decision.
Congress needs to act sooner rather than later to ameliorate this problem. One possibility would be to include a fix in the stimulus legislation to cope with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that Congress is currently considering.
Spouses And Social Security
You can claim Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work record. If claiming spousal benefits provides more, claiming before your FRA on a spouse’s record means you’ll lose even more than claiming on your own recordthe benefit reduction for a spouse is up to 35% while the reduction for claiming your own benefit is up to 30%. For instance, if you’re the spouse of Colleen in the above example and you are the same age, you’d be eligible for only $650 a month at age 6235% less than the $1000 a month you would get at your FRA of 67.
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Your decision to take benefits early could outlive you. If you were to die before your spouse, they would be eligible to receive your monthly amount as a survivor benefitif it’s higher than their own amount. But if you take your benefits early, say at age 62 versus waiting until age 70, your spouse’s survivor Social Security benefit could be up to 30% less for the remainder of their lifetime.
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Social Security Spousal Benefits
The spouse of a retired worker can receive up to half of their spouses benefits. This does not reduce the benefits that the spouse receives. This benefit is generally for spouses who do not have a sufficient work history to be otherwise eligible for benefits or whose work history entitles them to a lower benefit than they would receive from the spousal benefit.
To get Social Security spousal benefits, you must be one of the following:
- At least 62 years old
- Any age if you are taking care of your spouses child who is also receiving benefits
- A divorced spouse who is at least age 62, whose marriage lasted at least 10 years, and who remains unmarried
Depending on the date of birth, full spousal benefits kick in at the same age as a workers full retirement benefits. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but if you do so, then the benefit will be permanently reduced.
The spousal benefit continues until one spouse dies. The survivor then may be eligible for survivor benefits.
Tax Considerations For Social Security Benefits
How do these tax considerations affect when you should apply for Social Security benefits? At todays , they may not have much of an impact on most people. Still, tax rates and income thresholds can change, so its worth remembering that you will lose less of your Social Security to taxes if you are in a lower marginal tax bracket when you begin to collect.
You should also note that if you decide to return to work, even part-time, and arent yet at your FRA, your Social Security benefits may be temporarily reduced. The reduction is $1 for every $2 of earned income over $18,960 in 2021 . During the year when you reach your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in income over $50,520 in 2021 until the month when you become fully eligible. That money isnt lost, however. The SSA will credit it to your record when you reach your FRA, resulting in a higher benefit.
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How Long Does A Widow Receive Survivor Benefits
Widows and widowers Generally, spouses and ex-spouses become eligible for survivor benefits at age 60 50 if they are disabled provided they do not remarry before that age. These benefits are payable for life unless the spouse begins collecting a retirement benefit that is greater than the survivor benefit.
When A Spouse Dies
When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive the higher of their own benefit or their deceased spouses benefit. Thats why financial planners often advise the higher-earning spouse to delay claiming. If the higher-earning spouse dies first, then the surviving, lower-earning spouse will receive a larger Social Security check for life.
When the surviving spouse hasnt reached their FRA, they will be entitled to prorated amounts starting at age 60. Once at their FRA, the surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased spouses benefit or their own benefit, whichever is higher.
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Why You May Have To File After Age 67
Your plan may be to save as well as you can for retirement and then take your benefits at age 67, when you’re entitled to them in full. But what if you reach your FRA of 67 and realize your nest egg isn’t in great shape?
That could be the case because you didn’t pump enough money into it while you were working. Or, it could be that you invested your savings too conservatively and didn’t enjoy as much growth in your retirement plan as you would’ve liked.
Either way, if, come age 67, you realize you’ll be more reliant on Social Security in retirement than expected, then you may have to delay your filing to give your benefits a boost. For each month you hold off on filing past FRA, your benefits will increase by two-thirds of 1%. This means that delaying your filing one year will result in an 8% boost, and waiting until age 70 will result in a 24% boost.
Once you turn 70, you can’t grow your Social Security benefits any more. But you may feel compelled to wait until then rather than file at 67.
Does Working After Full Retirement Age Increase Social Security Benefits
Working after full retirement age could increase your Social Security benefits. Your benefits are based on average wages over your 35 highest-earning years .
Even after you’ve reached full retirement age, and even if you’ve already claimed benefits, the Social Security Administration continues to recalculate your average annual wage to account for new income. If your earnings after FRA are higher than previous years and raise your average wage for your 35 top-earning years, your benefits could rise accordingly.
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Benefits For Your Spouse Or Common
If you are eligible to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to receive the Allowance if your spouse or common-law partner:
- is 60 to 64 years of age
- is a Canadian citizen or a legal resident
- resides in Canada and has resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18
- your combined annual income is less than $36,048
Allowance for the Survivor
You could receive the Allowance for the Survivor if:
- you are 60 to 64 years of age
- your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into a common-law relationship
- your annual income is less than $26,256
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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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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If youre about to retire, you may be wondering whether you should start claiming your hard-earned Social Security benefits now. Here are a few key factors to consider in making that decision.
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Timing And Your Health Coverage
Your health insurance coverage can also play a role in deciding when to claim Social Security benefits. Do you have a health savings account to which you would like to keep contributing? If so, note that if youre age 65 or older, then receiving Social Security benefits requires you to sign up for Medicare Part A, and once you sign up for Medicare Part A, youll no longer be allowed to add funds to your HSA.
The SSA also cautions that even if you delay receiving Social Security benefits until after age 65, you might still need to apply for Medicare benefits within three months of turning 65 to avoid paying higher premiums for life for Medicare Part B and Part D.
In 2022, the average monthly premium for Part D will be $33 per month versus $31.47 in 2021. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the average monthly premium will be $19 per month in 2022 versus $21.22 in 2021. However, if you are still receiving health insurance from your or your spouses employer, you might not yet have to enroll in Medicare.
As of Oct. 16, 2021, Social Security offices are only open by appointment, and to get an appointment you need to be in a limited, critical situation. Most people will have to transact their business online, by phone, or through the mail.
Social Security Survivor Benefits For Spouses
Surviving spouses can receive benefits based on the benefit amount that the deceased was receiving from Social Security at the time of death.
- A surviving spouse can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. Full benefits are available at full retirement age. Benefits are for life.
- A surviving spouse who has a disability can collect benefits as early as age 50. The benefit begins upon the death of the retiree and continues until the surviving spouse is age 65. At that point, they are eligible for the aged benefit.
- Surviving spouses can get benefits at any age if they take care of their spouses child who is under age 16 or disabled and receives Social Security benefits.
- Surviving divorced spouses who are age 60 or older can get survivor benefits if the marriage lasted at least 10 years. Divorced spouses dont have to meet the length-of-marriage rule if they take care of the former spouses child who is younger than age 16 or disabled.
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Alternative Qualification For Some Women
A woman who doesn’t meet the general qualifications can qualify for Age under subsection 43 of the SSAct. The woman can qualify under these provisions, if:
- she has reached pension age, AND
- her partner has died, AND
- both the woman and her partner were Australian residents when her partner died, AND
- the woman was an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 104 weeks immediately before the day she lodged the claim for Age.
A woman who qualifies for Age under these provisions remains qualified if she re-partners. That is, the woman is NOT required to remain a widow to retain qualification for Age.
If the woman cannot qualify under this provision, she MAY qualify for WA.
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 Qualification for WA
What If I Continue Working In My 60s
Many people whose health allows them to continue working in their 60s and beyond find that staying in the workforce keeps them young and gives them a sense of purpose. If this sounds like something youâd like to do, know that working after claiming early benefits may affect the amount you receive from Social Security. Why? Because the Social Security Administration wants to spread out your earnings so you donât outlive them. If you claim Social Security benefits early and then continue working, youâll be subject to whatâs called the Retirement Earnings Test.
If youâre between age 62 and your full retirement age, and youâre claiming benefits, you need to know about the Earnings Test Exempt Amount, a threshold that changes yearly. For 2021, the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount is $18,960/year . If youâre in this age group and claiming benefits, then every $2 you make above the Exempt Amount will reduce by $1 the Social Security benefits you’ll receive.
Contrary to popular belief, this money doesnât disappear. It gets credited back to you – with interest – in the form of higher future benefits. You may hear people grumbling about the Social Security âEarnings Taxâ, but itâs not really a tax. Itâs a deferment of your benefits designed to keep you from spending too much too soon. And after you hit your full retirement age, you can work to your heartâs content without any reduction in your benefits.
Who Is Eligible For Social Security Benefits
Anyone who pays into Social Security for at least 40 calendar quarters is eligible for retirement benefits based on their earnings record. You are eligible for your full benefits once you reach full retirement age, which is either 66 and 67, depending on when you were born. But if you claim later than that – you can put it off as late as age 70 – youâll get a credit for doing so, with larger monthly benefits. Conversely, you can claim as early as age 62, but taking benefits before your full retirement age will result in the Social Security Administration docking your monthly benefits.
The bottom line: Youâre eligible for Social Security Benefits if youâve paid into the system for at least a decade, but your actual benefits will depend on what age â between 62 and 70 â you begin to claim them.
How Long Do You Receive Social Security Survivor Benefits
Social Security survivor benefits are payable to the surviving spouse for the remainder of their life. Restrictions apply for divorced spouses eligible to receive benefits.
Benefits for surviving children end at age 18 or age 19 and 2 months if still pursuing their elementary or secondary education. For surviving children who became disabled before age 22, their benefits continue for life.
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