Thursday, June 16, 2022

What’s The Most You Can Get On Social Security

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Can A Divorced Woman Who Was Married For More Than 10 Years Claim A Spousal Benefit On Her Ex

Tricks and tips for getting the most from Social Security

Not any longer. The government eliminated a strategy that allowed a spouse or a divorced spouse to use a restricted application to file for a spousal benefit while letting her own retirement benefit grow. Now only people born before 1954 can do this.

Instead, when a spouse or divorced spouse files for benefits, the government will give her all the benefits she is eligible for whether it is her retirement benefit or a spousal benefit, said William Reichenstein, a principal of Social Security Solutions, a company that helps individuals maximize their lifetime income.

A divorced spouse can file for a spousal benefit even if the ex-spouse has not yet claimed a benefit as long as both are at least 62 and are divorced for more than two years. A married spouse must wait until her spouse has filed.

But if the ex-spouse dies, the picture changes. The surviving ex-spouse can claim a survivor benefit as early as 60 and allow her retirement benefit to grow until as late as 70. Or she can claim her reduced retirement benefit early and then switch to a higher survivor benefit at full retirement age.

If you were married for 10 years, keep tabs on the ex, Ms. Floyd said. Once he dies, that survivor benefit could be higher than your own.

How To Stop Social Security Check Payments

The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.

If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.

Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.

What Is The Social Security Income Limit

The earnings limit is also known as the income limit, or the earnings test. The official term is earnings test, but income limit and earnings limit are the terms that youll hear most often.

For our purposes, know that all these terms mean the same thing and there are four quick facts about the Social Security income limit that you should know before we jump all the way into explaining the test or limit:

  • Be aware that we are talking about Social Security income limits for retirement benefits, not disability or SSI.
  • The earnings limit on Social Security is not the same as income taxes on Social Security. Dont get the two confused!
  • The earnings limit does not apply if you file for benefits at your full retirement age or beyond. These limits only apply to those who begin taking Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age.
  • The earnings limit is an individual limit. If you are still working, and your spouse is drawing Social Security, your earnings will not count towards their income limit.
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    What Happens If I Work And Get Social Security Retirement Benefits

    You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.

    • We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.

    For 2021 that limit is $18,960.

    • In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.

    If you will reach full retirement age in 2021, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $50,520.

    Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

    Use our Retirement Age Calculator to find your full retirement age based on your date of birth.

    Use our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator to find out how much your benefits will be reduced.

    What counts as earnings:

    Your benefits may increase when you work:

    When youre ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.

    If you need to report a change in your earnings after you begin receiving benefits:

    How Much Can You Earn Without Losing Social Security Retirement Benefits

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    The impact of work on your Social Security retirement benefits will vary depending on whether you have reached full retirement age .

    FRA is the age at which you’re entitled to claim full retirement benefits without a reduction due to filing early. Your FRA depends on your birth year, as the chart below shows. If you’ve already reached it, you can work as much as you want without affecting your benefits. If you’re below it, you can do some work, but some of your benefits checks could be withheld if you earn too much.

    The amount of income you can earn before your benefits are withheld will vary depending on whether you will reach FRA at some point in the year you’re working.

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    What To Do When There Is A Problem With Your Social Security Benefits

    Sometimes, a senior on Social Security may come across a snag. It could be that a benefit payment is delayed or a Social Security claim is initially rejected. If that’s the case, you can definitely reach out to the SSA at 1 772-1213. To be clear, it’s OK to speak to a live person about a Social Security issue you’re having, as long as you’re the one who’s initiated that call.

    In some cases, the SSA may call you back in response to an inquiry you’ve made. But in that situation, that initial contact will have come from you.

    What Is The Average Social Security Payout

    While the highest Social Security payout is quite substantial, however, the average payout is considerably smaller. In 2021 the median retirement benefit was just $1,517.67, which is less than $18,212.04 annually. Assuming a full-time, minimum-wage worker earns around $30,000 annually, and the typical Social Security benefit wont get the majority of retirees far. Since the $1,517.67 figure is only an average, its also the case that many retirees get payments that are less than this.

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    No : Collect A Spousal Benefit

    If you’re married and your spouse has a richer work history than you do, you may be able to collect a “spousal benefit,” based on your spouse’s earnings instead of your own. Spouses can collect benefits worth up to 50% of their other half’s benefits. This can be particularly welcome for spouses who never worked, or earned very little.

    When Can I Receive My Deceased Husbands Social Security Benefits

    How I Get The Most From Social Security || The Options And Benefits That Social Security Offers

    The earliest widow or widower can start receiving Social Security survivor benefits based on age will remain at age 60. Widows or widowers benefits based on age can start any time between age 60 and full retirement age as a survivor.

    When can a widow collect her husbands Social Security?

    Widows and widowers can receive: Reduced benefits already at age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age or older. If widows or widowers qualify for retirement payments on their own record, they can switch to their own retirement grant as early as age 62.

    Will I get my husbands social security when he dies?

    If My Husband Dies, Can I Collect Their Social Security Benefits? A surviving spouse may collect 100 percent of the deceased spouses earnings if the surviving spouse achieved full retirement, but the amount will be lower if the deceased spouse claimed benefits before he or she achieved full retirement.

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    Your Earnings History Is A Key Factor In Calculating The Amount Of Your Benefit

        Your Social Security benefits are determined by a number of factors, but your earned income over the course of your working life is probably the most importantso the more the better. Is Social Security considered earned income? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

        Increase Your Social Security Benefits

        If you’re starting to realize that the $3,895 is probably out of your grasp, know that there are still ways to increase the Social Security benefits you’ll get. For example, make sure you work at least 35 years, as the benefits are calculated based on the 35 years in which you earned the most . So if you’re planning to retire after working just 30 years, know that the formula will be incorporating five zeroes for five years. Working a few more years can boost your benefit — especially if you’re earning more now than ever.

        Beefing up your income for a few years can also work, and you might accomplish that by taking on a side gig, such as walking dogs, teaching music or a language, making and selling things online, or doing freelance writing, editing, photography, or web design, among many other options.

        So don’t fret if you’re not going to get the maximum payout . Instead, do what you can to simply maximize the payout that you do ultimately receive. Spending a little time reading up on Social Security can pay off if it helps you get more out of the vital program.

        The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

        The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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        How Much Can You Earn Without Losing Supplemental Security Income Benefits

        Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, also provides benefits to disabled individuals as well as to seniors over 65.

        SSI is not an earned benefits program, unlike SSDI. Eligibility is not dependent on working and earning work credits as you pay Social Security taxes but instead is based on financial need. If you have a low household income and less than $2,000 in individual countable assets or $3,000 in countable assets as a couple, you can become eligible for these benefits.

        Because SSI benefits are for lower-income recipients, you will lose access to these benefits if you have too much money coming in from any other sources. In fact, you can lose eligibility for SSI if you have earned income or if you have unearned income including:

        • Social Security retirement benefits
        • Money from state disability programs
        • Unemployment benefits
        • Income from interest or dividends

        You can also lose access to SSI if you have deemed income, which is income from other people who you live with or from the person who sponsored you if you are an alien. And if you get food or shelter for free, this is even considered a type of income, called in-kind income, that can affect access to benefits.

        The Maximum Social Security Benefit And How To Get It

        Get What

        As just mentioned, in 2020, the maximum Social Security benefit is $3,011 per month if you started receiving benefits at full retirement age . Theres only one way to receive more than that: wait until age 70 to receive benefits. But for most people, receiving even $3,011 is a stretch. Heres what you would need to do to maximize your benefit.

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        How To Receive Federal Benefits

        To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.

        If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

        • Call the Go Direct Helpline at .

        If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

        Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:

        Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.

        No : Delay Your Divorce

        This won’t work for everyone, but if you have been married for less than a decade and are planning to divorce, and if you are able to delay that divorce, doing so may serve you well. Divorcees may be able to claim benefits based on their ex-spouse’s earnings even if that ex has remarried if they were married for at least 10 years. If your future ex-spouse has a significantly stronger earnings record than you do, you may be able to collect a much bigger monthly benefit check based on his or her earnings than the one based on your own record. There are a few more rules related to this, so look into them if this might apply to you.

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        No : Start Collecting Early At 62

        If you live an average lifespan, though, you won’t come out ahead much by delaying, because you’ll get fewer checks, in total, than those who started earlier with smaller checks. If you live much longer than average, though, waiting will have been worth it. But if you have reason to believe you will live a shorter-than-average life, or you simply need the money, go ahead and start collecting early. For most people, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

        Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary

        Calculating the maximum check you can get from Social Security

        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.

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        Why Your 59% Cola Might Not Go Far

        The Social Security COLA is tied to inflation.

        The annual increase is meant to offset the rising cost of everyday essentials like food, housing and gas.

        Yet Social Security COLAs have historically lagged behind inflation including this year.

        The Consumer Price Index, a government measure for the change in prices over time, hit 6.2% in October so the 5.9% COLA already falls short.

        Higher Medicare costs in 2022 will likely erode the new Social Security adjustment even further.

        Most Medicare beneficiaries have their monthly Part B premium automatically deducted from their Social Security checks.

        On Nov. 12, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that Part B premiums are increasing by $21.60 a month in 2022 the biggest one-year increase in Medicare history.

        Medicare beneficiaries are also facing higher Part A and Part B deductibles next year.

        Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.

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        How Much Earned Income Can You Have Without Losing Ssi

        When you have earned income, you lose a portion of the monthly benefits you receive from SSI. Eventually, your earned income can grow so high that you lose your entire benefit. But not all earned income counts.

        The SSA excludes certain income from counting when determining your earned income level. It excludes:

        • The first $20 of all income earned
        • The first $65 of monthly earned income
        • Income that is being used to pursue a plan of self-support by someone who is disabled or blind or income that is set aside for such a plan
        • The first $30 of infrequent income per quarter

        You are also able to deduct any work expenses related to impairment. And only one-half of your earned income counts in determining how much your benefits are reduced.

        So, for example, say it’s 2019 and you earn $1,627 per month in earned income with no other income sources.

        • You’ll subtract $85 from the $1,627 , which will leave you with $1,542.
        • Only half of this income counts, so you’d have $771 in earned income.
        • For 2019, $771 happens to be the monthly maximum federal benefit — called the federal benefit limit — for an individual receiving SSI.
        • In this example, your benefit is reduced to $0.

        So, for 2019, you can earn up to $1,627 in earned income and get at least some SSI benefits. Once you hit the federal benefit limit, however, your SSI benefit ends.

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        How To Create A My Social Security Account

        If you dont already have an account, you can create one anytime. However, only beneficiaries who created an account prior to Nov. 17 will receive their 2022 COLA notice online.

        Its a good idea to create an online account for other reasons, too especially if you receive Social Security or SSI benefits.

        With a MySocialSecurity account you can also:

        • Request a new Social Security card.
        • Set up or change direct deposit.
        • Get your Social Security tax form .
        • Print a benefit verification letter.
        • Change your address.

        To create an account, youll need to do the following:

      • Verify your identity by entering personal information about yourself.
      • Answer some security questions.
      • Create a username and password.
      • Confirm your email address or phone number by entering a one-time security code.
      • Whether you have an online account or not, you can expect to receive a paper notice in the mail in upcoming weeks.

        No : Check Your Record

        Social Security Benefits Made Easy

        You can get a good estimate of how much income you can expect to receive from Social Security by setting up a My Social Security* account with the Social Security Administration . Doing so will let you see the SSA’s record of your earnings, which you should revisit now and then, to make sure they’re correct. If they’re not, you might end up receiving smaller benefit checks than you’ve actually earned. Fixing errors in your record can be an effective way to increase your benefits.

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