Sunday, August 14, 2022

When Can Claim Social Security

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Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments

How to Protect Your Social Security Payment from Loss

Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.

No One Else Is Relying On Your Benefits

In the event of your death, a surviving spouse, minor or disabled child can receive money from the Social Security Administration based on the amount of your benefits. For example, a surviving spouse can receive between 71.5% and 100% of your benefit amount, depending on the surviving spouses age. A disabled child can receive 75% of your benefits each month even after youre gone.

If no one else can qualify for benefits based on your record, you might want to retire early because no one is depending on that money. If everything else falls into place and you meet the minimum Social Security retirement age, consider collecting your benefits early and enjoying life.

Helpful: States Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $45,000 a Year

Start With The Basics

First, lets establish a baseline of knowledge. You might already know these basic rules, but its important to ensure we understand the basics before we head into the more complex.

  • Usually the earliest you can take Social Security is age 62, unless other special circumstances apply, such as widows benefits. The advantage to claiming the benefit at that early age is you can have those monthly checks arriving a good four to five years before you reach full retirement age.
  • The downside is that you will receive a reduced amount about 75% of your full benefit and that reduction is permanent, no matter how long you live. Also, if you continue to work, the government puts a limit on how much money you can make without being penalized. For 2019, that annual income limit is $17,640. For every $2 you go over the limit, $1 is deducted from your benefit.
  • Lets say you want to wait until your full-retirement age, though. For most people these days, thats somewhere between age 66 and 67. At that point, there is no income limit, so you could continue to work at your full-time job with no threat of a Social Security penalty.
  • Finally, you can also delay claiming your benefit, and if you do so, you will be rewarded with larger monthly checks. However, theres no advantage to waiting past age 70, because at that point the benefit stops growing.

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Why You Can Trust Bankrate

Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.

Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.

Our reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most how to save for retirement, understanding the types of accounts, how to choose investments and more so you can feel confident when planning for your future.

Can I Collect More Than One Type Of Benefit At A Time

Social Security Disability Claim Form High

No. You may qualify for more than one type of Social Security benefit at a time, but you can collect just one. For example, you might be eligible for both retirement and disability, or you might be entitled to benefits based on your own retirement as well as on that of your retired spouse. You can collect whichever one of these benefits is higher, but not both.

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How This Can Play Out

It’s easier to see the impact an early decision can have on a spouse through an example. Say you’re married and 62 and would be entitled to receive typical retirement benefits of $1,500 per month at a full retirement age of 67. However, due to a medical condition, you don’t expect to live to 67. Your spouse is also 62 and in good health.

Your first instinct might be to claim Social Security right away. That way, you’d get as much as five years’ worth of Social Security. The benefit would be reduced to $1,050 per month, but that’s still as much as $63,000 that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

However, doing so would lock in your spouse’s maximum survivor benefit at $1,050 per month, as well. It could be even less if the timing of your death resulted in your spouse claiming benefits earlier than the spouse’s full retirement age.

In the end, your spouse would likely get $450 per month less until death. If you passed away at 67 and your spouse lived to 90, then over that 23-year period, the lost amount would be $124,200 in today’s dollars — almost twice as much as you would have received by claiming early.

If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment

If you receive a check or direct deposit payment from the Treasury Department and do not know what its for, contact the regional financial center that issued it.

If you received a check, look for the RFCs city and state at the top center. Then contact that RFC to find out which federal agency authorized the payment. It will be one of these:

If you received payment byelectronic funds transfer , or direct deposit, follow the directions under Find Information About a Payment.

Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitimate and issued by the government.

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To Wait Or Not To Wait

  • Consider taking benefits earlier if
  • Consider waiting to take benefits if
  • Consider taking benefits earlier if You are no longer working and can’t make ends meet without your benefits.
  • Consider waiting to take benefits if You are still working and make enough to impact the taxability of your benefits.
  • Consider taking benefits earlier if You are in poor health and don’t expect the surviving member of the household to make it to average life expectancy.
  • Consider waiting to take benefits if You are in good health and expect to exceed average life expectancy.
  • Consider taking benefits earlier if You are the lower-earning spouse and your higher-earning spouse can wait to file for a higher benefit.
  • Consider waiting to take benefits if You are the higher-earning spouse and want to be sure your surviving spouse receives the highest possible benefit.

Youre Concerned Social Security Will Disappear


Some people are concerned about potential Social Security changes in the future, such as higher retirement ages, lower benefits or higher taxes on benefits. As a result, they want to take the sure thing as soon as possible. In a 2017 Social Security summary, the government said Social Security trust funds will be depleted in 2034. Even then, however, annual Social Security taxes are projected to keep benefits at almost three-fourths of current levels.

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Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts About Social Security

Social Security provides a foundation of income on which workers can build to plan for their retirement. It also provides valuable social insurance protection to workers who become disabled and to families whose breadwinner dies.

Eighty-five years after President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, Social Security remains one of the nations most successful, effective, and popular programs.

Spouses Who Dont Qualify For Their Own Social Security

Spouses who didnt work at a paid job or didnt earn enough credits to qualify for Social Security on their own are eligible to receive benefits starting at age 62 based on their spouses record. As with claiming benefits on your own record, your spousal benefit will be reduced if you take it before reaching your FRA. The highest spousal benefit that you can receive is half of the benefit that your spouse is entitled to at their FRA.

While spouses get a lower benefit if they claim before reaching their own FRA, they will not get a larger spousal benefit by waiting to claim after their FRAsay, at age 70. However, a nonworking or lower-earning spouse may get a larger spousal benefit if the working spouse has some late-career, high-earning years that boost their benefits.

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How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned

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.

Fact #: Most Elderly Beneficiaries Rely On Social Security For The Majority Of Their Income

The Smart Way to Claim Social Security Benefits During the Coronavirus ...

Social Security provides the majority of income to most elderly Americans. For about half of seniors, it provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 4 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income, across multiple surveys and the study that matches survey and administrative data.

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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.

When Is The Best Time To Claim Social Security Benefits

When is the optimal time to claim Social Security? Financial Planner David Rae explains.


There are reasons to claim Social Security at 62, but there are also reasons to wait until you are older. Claiming benefits too early could result in receiving a significantly lower amount. In other cases, you may be creating tax headaches if you receive Social Security and are still working.

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You Already Have Your 35 Highest

Your Social Security benefits are based on your earnings in the 35 years that you had the most compensation. If youre in your peak earning years, you could boost your benefits if you keep working a few more years and delaying your benefits. However, if you arent going to increase your average earnings, such as if youre only working part-time or youve had to retire early, you wont miss out on the chance to boost your benefits with higher earning years. However, youll still receive a smaller benefit for not waiting until full retirement age.

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Strategies For Married Couples

Should You Take Social Security Early?

Couples can greatly increase their lifetime Social Security wealth by coordinating benefits if you can afford to delay your claim, say, because one partner is working or you have savings to live on. Here are two examples, assuming a bread-winning husband with a slightly younger wife who has a modest Social Security benefit of her own:

1. Claim and switch. The wife takes her own retirement benefit at 62. When her husband reaches full retirement age, he files for spousal benefits on his wife’s account . He would get half of her benefit. At 70, the husband switches to his own benefit, which has grown by 8 percent a year plus cost-of-living increases. If he dies first, his wife switches to her survivor’s benefit, now enhanced by those 8 percent gains.

2. File and suspend. The husband files for his own retirement benefit at 66 but asks that it be suspended. That lets his future benefit continue to grow. His wife immediately files for spousal benefits on her husband’s account. Again, she would get one-half of his benefit. At 70, he claims his payments, including those lovely 8 percent increases.

They’d play it differently if both partners had high earnings. The husband might file and suspend at 66. When the wife reaches 66, she’d request spousal benefits on his account. At 70, each of them would claim retirement benefits based on their personal earnings record.

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You Have A Shorter Life Expectancy

The government incentivizes waiting to collect your Social Security benefits by giving you a larger monthly amount the longer you delay. For example, if you start collecting benefits at age 62 when your full retirement age is 66, your monthly benefit will be about 75% of your full-age benefit. So if you expected your monthly benefit to be $1,000 per month at 66, you would only receive around $750 at 62.

Although a larger monthly benefit might sound great, keep in mind that youd have to wait four years to get that extra $250 per month. You would receive $36,000 during those four years at the reduced amount of $750 per month.

When you start collecting $1,000 at age 66, that extra $250 per month wont let you break even for 12 years compared to collecting early. If your health is declining and you dont expect to live until youre 78, youll receive more in benefits during your lifetime if you start claiming as soon as possible.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

If the reconsideration doesnt go your way, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. This hearing typically goes by fairly fast, often taking no more than an hour in total, and its typically located within 75 miles of your home, but often closer. Its best to have a lawyer with you at this point if you dont already. While these hearings are far more informal than a typical court hearing, a lawyer will still know the process inside, what evidence to present, and how best to present it.

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How Retirement Benefits Work

Social Security replaces a percentage of your pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The portion of your pre-retirement wages that Social Security replaces is based on your highest 35 years of earnings and varies depending on how much you earn and when you choose to start benefits.

When you work, you pay taxes into Social Security. We use the tax money to pay benefits to:

  • People who have already retired.
  • People who are disabled.
  • Survivors of workers who have died.
  • Dependents of beneficiaries.

The money you pay in taxes isnt held in a personal account for you to use when you get benefits. We use your taxes to pay people who are getting benefits right now. Any unused money goes to the Social Security trust fund that pays monthly benefits to you and your family when you start receiving retirement benefits.

Additional Information

A Guide On Taking Social Security

Why You Were Denied Social Security Disability Benefits and What to Do ...

The decision of when to take Social Security is highly dependent on your circumstances. You can start taking it as early as age 62 , wait until you’ve reached full retirement age or even until age 70. While there’s no “correct” claiming age for everybody, the rule of thumb is that if you can afford to wait, delaying Social Security can pay off over a long retirement. Here are some of the rules and guidelines.

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Can I Qualify For Ssi While Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits

While you cannot collect Social Security retirement and SSDI at the same time to increase your benefits beyond the full retirement amount, there is a program that may allow you to collect additional income.

SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, is a Social Security program that helps seniors and those with a disability who have an extremely low income or limited assets. To qualify for SSI, you need to meet strict income qualifications and have only a minimum amount of resources. Resources, as the SSA defines the term, can be anything that can be turned into cash, such as:

  • Bank accounts, stocks, or U.S. savings bonds
  • Land

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