Saturday, January 22, 2022

When To Claim Social Security

Don't Miss

If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66

Best Time To Claim Social Security Benefits

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.

What Is Full Retirement Age

In addition to how much youve earned over the years, the size of your monthly Social Security benefit depends on when you were born and the age when you start claimingdown to the month.

Youll receive your full monthly benefit if you start claiming when you reach what Social Security considers your full retirement age , sometimes also referred to as normal retirement age. FRA was 65 when Social Security began, but it has been raised to 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. To find your FRA, see the chart below.

Finding Your Full Retirement Age
;

If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment

Contact the authorizing agency directly to find out why they sent the payment. You may be able to find the authorizing agency in the memo line of the check. View this diagram of a sample Treasury check to help you locate the authorizing agency contact information on your own check. Scroll about half way down the page to see the diagram.;

If you’re unable to find which;agency authorized the payment, .;They;can help you determine which government agency you need to contact. To find which;RFC;you need to call, look for its city and state at the top;center of the check.;

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

Recommended Reading: How Old Before You Can Get Social Security

How To Calculate Social Security Benefits

Lets say your FRA is 66. If you start claiming benefits at age 66 and your full monthly benefit is $2,000, then youll get $2,000 per month. If you start claiming benefits at age 62, which is 48 months early, then your benefit will be reduced to 75% of your full monthly benefitalso called your primary insurance amount. In other words, youll get 25% less per month, and your check will be $1,500.

That reduced benefit wont increase once you reach age 66. Rather, youll continue to receive it for the rest of your life. It may go up over time due to cost-of-living adjustments , but only slightly. You can do the math for your own situation using the Social Security Administration Early or Late Retirement Calculator, one of a number of benefit calculators provided by the SSA that can also help you determine your FRA, the SSAs estimate of your life expectancy for benefit calculations, rough estimates of your retirement benefits, individualized projections of your benefits based on your personal work record, and more.

Get Your Social Security Estimates

Great Reasons to Claim Social Security Before, at, or ...

The SSA website provides estimates for how much you’ll collect if you start receiving benefits at age 62, your full retirement age , and age 70. Remember that you don’t have to start taking your benefits at those milestone ages; you and your spouse can start collecting anytime between ages 62 and 70.

Read Also: How Much Social Security Can I Draw

Early Benefits Can Still Pay Off

However, taking early benefits can still pay off despite the reduced monthly check. But youll want to be sure you budget for a reduced benefit.

No one can predict how long youll live, but if youre facing a potentially significant reduction in life expectancy and are short of income, taking Social Security early may be appropriate, says Neiser.

Married women are also good candidates for claiming early benefits because they are likely to outlive their husbands. Those widows then become eligible to receive the greater of either their benefit or their late husbands benefit.

However, this scenario works only if the husband does not claim his benefits early. By not claiming early benefits, the husband effectively increases the monthly benefit his wife eventually receives. So youll want to calculate how filing early will affect your spousal benefit here.

Retirement Or Spouses Benefits

You need to be at least 61 years old and 9 months in order to claim these benefits. Another added requirement you also need to want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Applying for retirement benefits is essentially changing your financial status with the IRS and the SSA, which can have monetary ramifications if you change your mind or make changes outside of the allowable timeframes. Make sure to use the online tools to properly align your benefits with your goals. The online application for retirement and spouses benefits can be found here.

Also Check: How To Figure Out Your Social Security Number Online

What Is The Future Of Social Security

If youre skeptical about the;future of Social Security;or wary of potential changes such as means testingwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits for the wealthy, or an increase in the full retirement ageyou may be tempted to start benefits early, under the assumption that its better to have something than nothing.;The;2020 annual report;from the Social Security Trustees, released in April, projects that the Social Security Trust Fund has enough resources to cover all promised retirement benefits until;2035,;and will cover 79% of scheduled benefits for new retirees thereafter without changing the current system. The 2020 report does not include an adjusted projection due to impacts, if any, from the pandemic.

Over the longer term, changes such as later benefit dates or means testing may be considered.

In any situation, if youre particularly concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, thats a good reason to save more, and earlier, for your retirement.

Youre Only Working Part

Best Age to Claim Social Security?

If you claim Social Security prior to your full retirement age while still holding down a part-time job, you might have your benefits reduced if your work income exceeds the annual limit. For 2021, if you are under full retirement age, your benefits go down by $1 for every $2 your income exceeds $18,960. If you reach full retirement age in 2021, your benefits go down by $1 for every $3 your income exceeds $50,520 prior to reaching full retirement age. If you’re working part-time to help make ends meet, taking Social Security at 62 might make sense.

Also Check: When Can You Draw Your Social Security

Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries

You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.

Some People Who Take Social Security Early Are Misinformed And Impatient

  • Print icon
  • Resize icon

Many people claim Social Security earlier than the age at which they would receive 100% of what they are entitled to receive. In fact, roughly 50% of all working men claim at age 62, and nearly 70% have claimed before full retirement age.

And they do so for several reasons, according to Neha Bairoliya, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and co-author of a recent paper that examined Social Security claiming decisions.

What are those reasons and what can those entitled to Social Security do to claim their benefits at a more optimal age? There are some legitimate reasons why someone might claim early. Some people might be unemployed and unable to find work again. Some might be in bad health. And still others might just want to kick back and enjoy their grandchildren.

But often, those who claim early are simply misinformed and impatient.

Theres a penalty?

Age matters when claiming Social Security benefits. But many according to Bairoliya and her coauthors research dont know that claiming before ones full retirement age results in a permanently reduced benefit. And for those whom it applies, early claimants receive a permanently reduced spousal benefit.

Rather, in terms of maximizing the present value of your Social Security benefits, it makes sense to delay claiming to age 70.;

How might one do that?

You May Like: How Much Money Is Social Security Disability

What To Consider Before Filing For Social Security

A larger benefit check sounds great, but there are tradeoffs, and soon-to-retire folks should consider multiple issues before they decide one way or the other on when to file. If you really want to consider all the avenues, then youll have to think about your finances and longevity two issues that people have a hard time grappling with.

But heres the key tradeoff: you can file early and take a reduced benefit, expecting that a shorter lifespan will mean you receive more now, or you could file at full retirement age or later and claim a bigger check, and eventually live long enough to claim more than the first approach.

Social Security is like longevity insurance, says Brent Neiser, a certified financial planner and former chair of the Consumer Advisory Board at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its a stream of payments that will not stop throughout your life, so delaying your benefits to keep those payments as large as possible forms a helpful base to your retirement plan.

Neiser urges those who have not saved enough for retirement to use whatever means possible to postpone their Social Security benefits until after their full retirement age to help boost their future income.

You can use personal savings to help bridge the gap, but ideally you should plan to work a little longer , Neiser says.

Your Social Security Full Retirement Age Plays A Big Role Know It

3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Early

First things first:Determine your Social Security full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.

You can claim your Social Security benefits a few years before or after your full retirement age, and your monthly benefit amount will vary as a result. More on that in a moment.

Also Check: Is There Short Term Social Security Disability

If You Were Born In 1956 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66 And 4 Months

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.

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 spouse’s age. A disabled child can receive 75% of your benefits each month even after you’re 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.

Read Also: How To Change My Mailing Address With Social Security

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 a 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.

Whats Your Social Security Break

Best Age to Claim Social Security Benefits

If youre looking to maximize your total lifetime Social Security payout, youll want to conduct a break-even analysis to determine when you should start drawing your benefits.

Your break-even age occurs when the total value of higher benefits starts to exceed the total value of lower benefits .

For example, if you are eligible to collect a reduced $900 benefit at age 62 plus 1 month, and your benefit would increase to $1,251 at age 65 and 10 months, your estimated break-even age is 75 years and 5 months.

If you expect to live beyond that age, it could make financial sense to delay drawing benefits. The Social Security Administrations life expectancy calculator can help you decide.

When it comes to calculating a start date for Social Security benefits, however, theres not an age thats appropriate for everyone. Consider your own financial needs, health and other retirement plans before making the call. If you cant reasonably afford to live without taking benefits, it may make little sense to delay taking your benefit.

Read Also: Should You Give Someone Your Social Security Number

An Example Of Taxed Benefits

Lets say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Lets further assume that you dont have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement accounts required minimum distribution of $10,000 for the year.

Your combined income would be $38,332half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distributionwhich would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable, because youve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and Im in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.

Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would really be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in Internal Revenue Service Publication 915.

Social Security Benefits You Can Claim Online

Applying for and obtaining social security benefits can be confusing but these five can be easily claimed online. Before you register for or use any of the online tools for SSA benefits, youll need to register for a my Social Security account online. The process is fairly straightforward, youll simply need to provide some basic identification.

Find: 5 Things Most Americans Dont Know About Social Security

You May Like: How Is Social Security Calculator

What Happens If You Claim After Your Fra

If you wait until youre age 70 to start claiming benefits, then youll get an extra 8% per yearor, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesnt increase your benefits further, so theres no reason to wait longer than that.

The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 , the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesnt necessarily mean that youll come out ahead overall. You also need to weigh in some other factors, including your expected longevity and whether you plan to file for spousal benefits. You will also need to consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.

Theres An Annual Social Security Cost

Before You Claim Social Security

One of the most attractive features of Social Security benefits is that every year the government adjusts the benefit for inflation. Known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, this inflation protection can help you keep up with rising living expenses during retirement. The Social Security COLA is quite valuable; its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can cost a pretty penny.

Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government. In 2021, Social Security beneficiaries will see a 1.3% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits.;

The Kiplinger Letter forecast in March that the 2022 COLA would be 3%, which would be the largest increase since 2012 when Social Security benefits ticked up 3.6%.;;

Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:

  • 2009: 5.8%
  • 2021: 1.3%

Also Check: How To Check Social Security Statement

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.

More articles

Popular Articles