Your Free My Social Security Account Is Waiting
In March 2020, life insurance company MassMutual asked 1,500 respondents between the ages of 55-65 five questions about Social Security. What the survey discovered was that 33% of near-retirees failed the test, displaying a lack of knowledge about the major working components of the government program.
But another insight also emerged from the MassMutual study: Theres a big knowledge gap around even basic things like how to get your earnings statements from the Social Security Administration .
Setting up a free my Social Security account is the best way to get access to your Social Security statements.
Here are a few things to know before you sign up.
What Is My Retirement Age
Americans can choose to start collecting Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 70. Many people want to start as soon as possible, which is understandable. After all, youve spent your career paying into Social Security, and it makes sense to take advantage of those benefits. However, just because you can start collecting at age 62 doesnt always mean its the best choice. This is because, for some people, 62 is not actually considered your full retirement age. If you were born after 1960, your full retirement age is 67. If you were born in the 1950s, your retirement age is around 66. These numbers have been adjusted over time in an effort to compensate for an increase in average life expectancy.
You need to wait until you reach your full retirement age to apply for social security if you want to receive your full benefits. However, if you wait past your full retirement age, youll generally receive a Delayed Retirement Credit that can slightly increase the amount of benefits you receive. The longer you wait after your full retirement ageup until you reach age 70the higher your benefit will likely become. You can find more detailed information on Delayed Retirement Credits on the Social Security Administrations website.
How Do I Sign Up For Medicare If I Have A Disability
If you have already qualified for Social Security disability benefits, then you will be automatically enrolled after you have been qualified for those benefits for 24 months. If you do not currently receive these benefits, then you will need to apply for disability benefits first. Eligibility for Medicare for disabled people depends on their disability determination through the Social Security Administration. There is no separate Medicare disability eligibility.
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How To Protect Yourself
Following my research, I concluded that this is one of the options available to you. Social Security offers the option to sign up for an access to your account online they call this a my Social Securityaccount. For those of you that havent already, you should really to consider establishing a my Social Security account in order to verify that your account has not been hacked. This is a fairly simple process, and we can help if you need any support with doing so.
Even for those of you that are younger and wont be applying for social security yet, signing up for online access to your Social Security benefits not only makes sense as a planning tool, but it also protects you by establishing secure logins in order to access your information.
At What Age Do I Qualify For Social Security
You can begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. Doing so, however, is often not advisable, since it means lowering your monthly benefits potentially for life.
To collect the full monthly benefit your earnings record entitles you to, you must wait until full retirement age to sign up for Social Security. Depending on your year of birth, that age will fall out somewhere between 66 and 67. For each month you file for Social Security ahead of full retirement age, youll face a reduction in your monthly benefits that will likely remain in effect indefinitely, unless you manage to go through the motions of withdrawing your application soon after filing it.
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How Changes To Fra Impact Your Ability To Get Full Social Security Benefits
One of the Greenspan Commissions big recommendations was to increase the full retirement age to age 67. To make this change a little easier to digest, they recommended that the change only impact those who were more than 20 years away from full retirement age and that the change would gradually phase in over a period of 22 years.
The first changes began by changing the age from 65 to 66. It stayed at 66 for 11 years. But now its going up again.
For those born between 1955 and 1959, the full retirement age will be somewhere between age 66 and 67. For everyone born in 1960 or later, the FRA will be 67 .
This takes us back to the beginning where I said that youll never be able to get as much in benefits in 2021 or later. Heres why.
Heres Where To Get More Information On Social Security Numbers
Identity Theft: If you think an identity thief is using your SSN to work or to collect benefits, call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. If you think someone may be using your SSN to work, check your Social Security Personal Earnings and Benefit Statement. You can get a copy by calling 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7004.pdf. Also see the Social Security Administrations booklet Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number, at www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html.
History of SSNs: For a chronology of the laws relating to SSNs, see www.ssa.gov/history/ssn/ssnchron.html.
What the Numbers Mean: For an explanation of the meaning of the numbers in SSNs and answers to other questions about SSNs, see www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/.
More on Protecting your SSN: Fact Sheet 10: My Social Security Number: How Secure Is It? from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, at www.privacyrights.org.
Recommended Practices: For recommendations on how organizations can protect privacy in their handling of SSNs, see Recommended Practices for Protecting the Confidentiality of Social Security Numbers on the Business page at www.privacy.ca.gov.
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How Much Can You Expect To Get
Your Social Security retirement benefit payment is based on how much you made during your working years. The more you earned, the more you’ll get when you retire.
Your Social Security retirement benefit payment is also affected by the age at which you decide to retire. You can retire as early as age 62, but if you retire before your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced, based on your age. For example, if you retire at age 62, your benefit would be about 25 percent lower than what it would be if you waited until you reach full retirement age.
You also need to remember that monthly premiums for Medicare Part B are usually deducted from monthly Social Security benefits. Retirement is a great time to look into the pros and cons of a private Medicare Advantage plan.
Retirement benefits are based on the recipients lifetime earnings in work in which they paid Social Security taxes. Higher income translates to a bigger benefit, up to a point. The amount to which retirees are entitled is modified by other factors, most crucially the age at which they first claim benefits.
For reference, the estimated average Social Security retirement benefit in 2021 is $1,543 a month. The maximum benefitthe most an individual retiree can getis $3,148 a month for someone who files for Social Security in 2021 at their full retirement age.
You Automatically Get Medicare
- You should already have Part A and Part B , because you have ALS and youre already getting disability benefits.
- We mailed you a welcome package with your Medicare card.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months after your Part A starts, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months of turning 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
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Who’s The Higher Earner
Compare the estimates for you and your spouse, and pay special attention to the difference between your estimates. The higher earner is the spouse with the larger primary insurance amounts .
When you’re deciding who will collect first and who should wait, consider having the lower earner collect first and having the higher earner wait. Over time, the higher earner’s increases will be worth more than the lower earner’s increases.
And if one spouse’s estimates are more than twice as high as the other’s, it might make sense for both of you eventually to collect on the same spouse’s earnings record.
In that situation, the spouse with the lower benefits can claim first based on his or her own earnings record and apply for spousal benefits later when the spouse with the higher benefits starts to collect.
The longer the spouse with the higher benefit waits to start collecting, the higher benefits will be for both spouses. Delaying the higher earning spouse’s benefits could also eventually increase the other spouse’s survivors benefits.
Can You Still Work While Receiving Social Security
You can continue to work while you receive Social Security benefits. But there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. The earning limit may be adjusted each year.
If you earn above the limit, Social Security will deduct a certain amount of your benefits each year.
Social Security Benefits, Earning Limits and Penalties
|SSA deducts $1 from your benefits for every $3 you earn above the limit|
C You Can Continue Working And Not Receive Your Retirement Benefits
If you decide to continue working and not start your benefits until after full retirement age, your benefits will increase for each month you do not receive them until you reach age 70. There is no incentive to delay filing for your benefits after age 70. Continuing to work may also increase your benefits, because your current earnings could replace an earlier year of lower or no earnings, which can result in a higher benefit amount.
If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Original Medicare three months before you turn 65. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible at age 65, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.
However, if you or your spouse are still working and covered under an employer-provided group health plan, talk to your personnel office before signing up for Medicare Part B. Once the covered employment ends, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B. If so, you wont have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
At What Age Do I Qualify For Medicare
Medicare eligibility for seniors begins at age 65 . Your initial enrollment period for Medicare begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
If you miss your initial Medicare enrollment window, you can sign up during the general enrollment period of January 1 through March 31 of each year. But holding off too long could cost you. If you wait too long to sign up for Medicare Part B, youll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you were eligible to enroll but didnt. There are also financial implications associated with waiting too long to sign up for a Part D drug plan.
That said, if youre still working and have coverage under a group health plan during the seven-month period surrounding your 65th birthday, youll get a special enrollment period that begins when you separate from your employer or your group coverage ends. As such, you wont have to worry about the aforementioned penalties provided you sign up during your special enrollment period.
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Contact Social Security To Sign Up For Medicare
You can either:
Know when to sign up for Part BYou can only sign up for Part B at certain times. If you dont sign up for Part B when you turn 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty. Find out when you can sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
How To Get A Social Security Card
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What Happens After I Register For Medicare Online
Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by Medicare to ensure all the information is accurate and complete. You should double-check your contact information to make sure it is correct. This is important to ensure prompt delivery of your Identification Card, as well as in the event Medicare needs to contact you about your enrollment.
After your application is received and processed, a letter will be mailed to you with the decision. If you encounter any questions or problems during the process, you can always contact Social Security for assistance.
What Is The Best Age To Apply For Social Security
When it comes to planning your retirement, the decisions that you make regarding your Social Security application may be the most important numbers game you will ever play in your life. According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 48% of women and 42% of men who claimed Social Security retirement benefits in 2013 did so as soon as they were eligible at age 62. I believe that it is usually a mistake when single people apply for Social Security that early, but it is even worse for married couples who do so – especially in cases where the husband was the primary wage earner.
The Best Age To Apply For Social Security
The rational that I often hear from people who want to apply for Social Security at age 62 usually runs this way: Why not? Ive paid into the system for decades, and I might as well get something out of it before it goes bankrupt, right? It might feel like the best option at the time, but down the road you may find that it was the worst decision you ever made in your life.
The Social Security Break Even Point
The graph above shows that applying for Social Security at age 62 could be a very bad decision over… the long term.
Dead People Dont Have Financial Problems
There will always be attenuating circumstances that make everyones choice personal and unique. But, plan your Social Security decisions so that they make sense for both you and your spouse, for the short term and long term!
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How Should I Decide When To Take Benefits
Consider the following factors as you decide when to take Social Security.
Your cash needs: If youre contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources , you can be flexible about when to take Social Security benefits.
If youll need your Social Security benefits to make ends meet, you may have fewer options. If possible, you may want to consider postponing retirement or work part-time until you reach your full retirement ageor even longer so that you can maximize your benefits.
Your life expectancy and break-even age: Taking Social Security early reduces your benefits, but youll also receive monthly checks for a longer period of time. On the other hand, taking Social Security later results in fewer checks during your lifetime, but the credit for waiting means each check will be larger.
At what age will you break even and begin to come out ahead if you delay Social Security? The break-even age depends on the amount of your benefits and the assumptions you use to account for taxes and the opportunity cost of waiting . The SSA has several handy calculators you can use to estimate your own benefits.
If you think youll beat the average life expectancy, then waiting for a larger monthly check might be a good deal. On the other hand, if youre in poor health or have reason to believe you wont beat the average life expectancy, you might decide to take what you can while you can.
A quick note about life expectancy