The Social Security professionals from Disability Associates, LLC. discuss several practices for increasing your social security disability benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), nearly 60 million people in the United States were registered to receive benefits by the end of 2015. Whether you are currently eligible to receive Social Security benefits, or you will be eligible in the coming years, there are certain factors to consider that may qualify you for additional benefits from Social Security.

  1. Remain working for 35 years or more. The formula for which the Social Security Administration calculates benefits is based upon an applicant’s earnings in the 35 years in which they earned the most. If an applicant has worked just shy of 35 years, it might be worth it to consider working for a few more years to ensure the likelihood of receiving more benefits later on.
  2. Wait to collect. Delaying when you begin collecting your benefits is a simple way to let your Social Security benefits increase. Individuals are eligible to receive benefits as early as age 62 and delay as late as 70. Each individual has a “full” retirement age, and for every year beyond that, that benefit enrollment is delayed, benefit payments raise by about 8%. Delaying from age 67 to 70 will result in benefits that have the potential to be 24% larger.
  3. Divorce after 10 years of marriage. If you’ve been married for 9 years and you’re planning to divorce, if it is possible and/or safe to do so, try to delay your divorce until 10 years have passed. Divorcees may be able to claim benefits based on their ex-spouse’s earnings only if they’ve been married for 10 years. This rule still applies if the ex-spouse has been remarried.
  4. Investigate survivor and disability benefit options. It’s important to remember that Social Security is much more than retirement. If your partner passes away, it may be advantageous to look into survivor benefits. If you have children, they may also receive benefits up until age 17. Social Security also offers disability benefits to people of all ages who qualify.
  5. Avoid earning too much during retirement. If you plan to collect benefits before your full retirement age (generally age 66-67 today), and you want to continue to work, your benefits may be reduced. The SSA states that if you’re younger than full retirement age during all of 2016, they’ll deduct $1 of your benefits from each $2 you earn above $15,720. The earning limit increases to $41,880 once you reach your full retirement age and the penalty decreases to $1 withheld for every $3 earned above the limit.

Many Americans are several years behind on their retirement savings. However, a handful of less-than-obvious Social Security tips may help to increase your potential retirement income. For more information on applying for Social Security, and everything you can do to maximize your benefits, contact the attorneys at Disability Associates, LLC. today.