How The Age You Retire Affects Your Benefits
You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits once youve turned 62. However, youll receive more money per month if you wait a few years. People who start collecting retirement benefits at 62 will receive 70 percent of their full benefit amount. You can receive 100 percent of your benefit amount if you dont start collecting until full retirement age.
The full retirement age for people born after 1960 is 67. If you were born before 1960, refer to this chart from Social Security to see when youll reach full retirement age.
You can qualify for additional benefits if you have a limited income. Known as Supplemental Security Income , these benefits are for people with limited income who qualify for Social Security because of age or disability.
If Health Problems Force You To Retire Early
Sometimes health problems force people to retire early. If you cannot work because of health problems, you should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. The amount of the disability benefit is the same as a full, unreduced retirement benefit. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, those benefits will be converted to retirement benefits.
Should You Take Retroactive Social Security Benefits
There are some cases where youcan receive retroactive Social Security benefits, usually delivered via aone-time lump sum payment when you file for your retirement benefit.
Overall, this can sound like agreat deal. It might feel like a little extra, and the lump sum means you cando what you want with that money right away instead of waiting for it to cometo you in monthly payments.
But are retroactive SocialSecurity benefits truly a good thing? Heres what you need to know to make thisdecision for yourself.
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Youll Get A Bigger Monthly Social Security Check If You Wait Until 70
Claiming Social Security before you reach full retirement age will result in a reduction in benefits as much as 25% to 30% less than you would have received if you had waited.; That reduction is permanent.
Instead, if you wait to take your benefits until after your FRA, Social Security will add an 8% delayed retirement credit to your eventual monthly payout each year you hold off, up until age 70.
Thats a guaranteed return of 8% per year of deferral after your FRA, which could be more than you might receive with any other fixed products right now. Its definitely more than the cost of living adjustments that Social Security beneficiaries have been getting for the past decade, which have averaged about 1.5% a year.
Those COLA increases are not always enough to keep up with true inflation. And, when there is a COLA for Social Security, it may be coupled with a Medicare premium increase.
When To Apply If You’re Turning 70
Social Security won’t automatically start sending you checks once you turn 70, with one exception: If you took benefits after reaching full retirement age and then suspended your benefits to earn delayed credits of 8% per year, your benefits will automatically restart at 70.;
Otherwise, you’ll need to file an application. The earliest you can file for Social Security is four months before you want your benefits to start.
Regardless of when you file, make sure you specify that you want your benefit to begin the month you turn 70 to get the maximum amount. Social Security pays a month behind, so expect your first payment to arrive the month after your 70th birthday. For example, if you were born on May 10, you’d request that your benefits start in May and receive the first payment in June.
But there is an exception if you were born on the 1st of the month. For those people, Social Security calculates benefits as if they were born the previous month. So if you were born May 1, you’d request that your benefits start in April. Your first payment would arrive in May.
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Why You Should Start Collecting Social Security Benefits Long Before Turning 70
If you want your monthly Social Security benefit to be as large as possible, youll have to wait until age 70 to claim it. But thats not the right choice for everyone despite the fact that;delaying earns you bigger checks.
In fact, there are plenty of circumstances when youd want to start your retirement benefits much sooner even as soon as 62 when you first become eligible. And theres one situation where starting at a younger age absolutely makes sense.
Heres what it is.
Bringing Cost Of Living Into The Equation
When you factor in the cost of living adjustment that SSA provides, there’s even a stronger case for George to wait. The SSA reasons that costs of living rise by 2% each year, and they reflect this as an increase in the monthly benefit checks.
So with this added bonus, George can expect the more true figures to be as follows:
- $479,047 if he started benefits at age 62
- $541,840 if he started benefits at age 66
- $567,416 if he started benefits at age 70
If George lives to age 82, he will collect the maximum amount of income over his full life by waiting until age 70 to begin taking his benefits. In George’s case, his break even age is 80. This means that if he waits until age 70 to collect, he must live to at least age 80 to receive the same total dollars he would have received if he started taking benefits earlier.
As you can see, there is a lot of money at stake. And of course, no one knows how long they’ll live with any certainty. But you can still make a solid choice about when to receive your Social Security benefit by weighing the many outcomes, as George did.
How To Apply For Social Security
If ;you’re approaching retirement age, you may have some idea of when you’d like to start receiving Social Security benefits. However, you may not know how the application process works or when you need to apply in order to start receiving benefits at a specific time. Here’s what you need to know about how to apply for Social Security, what information you’ll need to gather, and when to fill out the application.
Three ways to applyWhen it comes time to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you have three options. You can use the Social Security Administration’s;online application;process, which should take no more than 30 minutes as long as you’ve gathered all of the required information and documentation .
You can also choose to apply by phone, or at your local Social Security office if you’d rather have someone there to assist with the process. Whichever method you feel most comfortable using, your application will be reviewed and processed as soon as all necessary documentation and information is received. And, the Social Security Administration will notify you if it turns out you could qualify for higher benefits on your spouse’s record, or if other family members can receive benefits on your work record.
Bear in mind that Social Security benefits are paid in the month after they are due. So, if you start your benefits on your 62nd;birthday, you won’t start receiving payments until the following month.
- Your date and place of birth
- Your Social Security number
When Benefits Will Begin
If your application is approved before you reach at least the minimum retirement age for people born in the same year as you, you will typically begin receiving your Social Security retirement benefits one month after you are entitled to receive them. For instance, if you are eligible to receive benefits beginning in February, you will receive your first payment in March.
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.
How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:
Those who are currently retired
To people with disabilities
To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died
Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits
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In A Rush To File For Social Security Benefits At Age 62 Many People Are But Slow Down And Do The Math First Or You Might Regret It
When it comes to claiming Social Security retirement benefits, you may want to consider waiting to start benefits when youre 70.
That means not starting benefits when youre 62 , nor even full retirement age .
I know that starting benefits at age 70 might be a tough thing to reconcile with but it doesnt mean that you have to work until youre 70.
Here are three reasons why delaying taking your Social Security benefit to age 70 is a decision you may want to consider:
Who Is Eligible For Social Security Retirement Benefits
As mentioned, youll need to meet a few requirements to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Just like with Medicare, youll need to be a United States citizen or permanent resident. You might also need to have worked and earned credits. The amount of credits you need depends on your circumstances and the type of benefit youre applying for.
Youll need at least 40 credits in order to apply for retirement benefits. Since you can earn up to four credits a year, youll earn 40 credits after 10 years of work. This rule applies to anyone born after 1929.
The amount youll receive per month will depend on your income throughout your working life. You can use the calculator on the Social Security website to estimate your retirement benefits.
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What Is Social Security
Social Security is a program that pays benefits to Americans who have retired or who have a disability. The program is managed by the Social Security Administration . You pay into Social Security when you work. Money is deducted from your paycheck each pay period.
Youll receive benefits from Social Security once youre no longer able to work due to disability or once youve reached a qualifying age and stopped working. Youll receive your benefits in the form of a monthly check or bank deposit. The amount youre eligible for will depend on how much youve earned while working.
You can apply for Social Security benefits if one of these situations apply to you:
- Youre 62 or older.
- You have a chronic disability.
- Your spouse who was working or receiving Social Security benefits has died.
Social Security retirement benefits are designed to replace a portion of the monthly income you earned before you retired.
How To Apply For Child Benefits
When you apply for Social Security retirement benefits, your children might also qualify for payments up to one-half the amount of your payments. To qualify, children must be:
- Under age 18, unless age 18 to 19 and a full-time student or disabled before age 22
The Social Security benefits application for childrens benefits is the same as applying for Social Security retirement benefits, but the Social Security office is likely to ask additional questions. For example, youll have to provide documentation on the child, such as a birth certificate. If a disability is involved, youll have to complete an adult disability form.
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Age : Wait And Accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits
At 70, you will get the maximum amount of benefits that you can get from Social Security.;It does not make sense to delay your Social Security retirement age past 70 because your benefit amount will not increase. Waiting until 70 to begin your Social Security if you are married and are the higher earner results in a higher survivor benefit for your spouse.;
Will My Social Security Benefits Be Reduced If I Work
A worker who claims benefits before full retirement age may run into the earnings limit, in which Social Security temporarily withholds $1 in benefits for every $2 in earnings above a certain amount in 2021, the limit is $18,960.
And though a person may need benefits to supplement low earnings, the downside of permanently reduced benefits also exists if you claim early, whether or not you exceed the earnings limit, Ms. Floyd said.
A working widow who collects a survivor benefit could also face the earnings limit. A widow can claim a survivor benefit as young as 60, though her benefit will be reduced by claiming before full retirement age. If she is working and exceeds the earnings limit, part of those reduced benefits will be withheld.
The earnings limit also applies to the spousal benefit claimed by a nonworking spouse if the other spouse is working and both are younger than full retirement age. Social Security withholds benefits on total household earnings that exceed the limit.
Withheld benefits are not lost forever, however. At the beneficiarys full retirement age, Social Security will adjust the monthly benefit upward to account for the withheld benefits. The beneficiary will continue to receive the higher payment even after she recoups the withheld benefits, which could take 12 years.
What If I Take Benefits Early
If you choose to receive your Social Security check up to 36 months before your full retirement age, be aware that your benefit is permanently reduced by five-ninths of 1% for each month.
If you start more than 36 months before your full retirement age, the benefit is further reduced by five-twelfths of 1% per month, for the rest of retirement.
For example, lets assume that you stop working at age 62. If your full retirement age is 66 and you elect to start benefits at age 62, the reduced benefit calculation is based on 48 months. This means that the reduction for the first 36 months is 20% and 5% for the remaining 12 months. Overall, your benefits would be permanently reduced by 25%.
Theres A Social Security Spousal Benefit
Marriage brings couples an advantage when it comes to Social Security. Namely, one spouse can take what’s called a spousal benefit, worth up to 50% of the other spouse’s Social Security benefit. Put simply, if your monthly Social Security benefit is worth $2,000 but your spouse’s own benefit is only worth $500, your spouse can collect a spousal benefit worth $1,000 — bringing in $500 more in income per month. Just as the benefit based on your own work history is reduced if you claim it early, the same is true for a spousal benefit. That 50% figure is the maximum amount that only a spouse who is at least full retirement age is eligible for. Taking the spousal benefit early at, say, age 62, reduces the amount to as little as 32.5% of the higher earners benefit. If you take your own benefit early and then later switch to a spousal benefit, your spousal benefit will still be reduced.
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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, then your Social Security benefits may be temporarily reduced. The reduction is $1 for every $2 of earned income over $18,960 . During the year when you reach your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in income over $50,520 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.
No More File And Suspend
Note that the claiming strategy called file and suspend, which allowed married couples who have reached their FRA to receive spousal benefits and delayed retirement credits at the same time, ended as of May 1, 2016. However, spouses born before Jan. 2, 1954, who have attained their FRA may still be able to file a restricted application. It allows them to claim spousal benefits while delaying their own benefits up to age 70.
Social Security benefits can be taxable if your combined income is high enough.
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