Maximizing your Social Security benefits is an important, but often difficult, task to accomplish. Doing this is made no easier when trying to maximize benefits for two. Couples have even more factors to consider when planning jointly for retirement and maximizing their Social Security benefits. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates discuss strategies for couples to maximize their Social Security disability and retirement benefits.
Taking Advantage of SSDI and Auxiliary Benefits Through Full Retirement
If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you could be eligible for auxiliary benefits. These auxiliary benefits include spousal benefits, which allow the spouse of a disabled worker to collect additional benefits. How much your spouse receives in auxiliary benefits depends on the work history of the spouse receiving SSDI benefits.
For a spouse to be eligible to receive spousal benefits, they must have legal care of the disabled worker’s child that is either under the age of 16 or disabled. In addition, spousal benefits apply if the spouse is 62 years of age or older.
Claiming Spousal Benefits or Retirement Benefits at Full Retirement Age
One strategy which couples can utilize to maximize the time span and amount of their benefits is for the spouse who earns the higher income to wait to claim their retirement benefits until the age of 70. By doing so, the higher earner will increase their benefits by 8% each year until the age of 70, and the lower earning spouse can claim their benefits at normal full retirement age (FRA), which is 66 years and 4 months of age, thereby maximizing their combined, overall benefits.
Getting the Most Out of Survivor Benefits
Couples have another important benefit to take into consideration when maximizing their Social Security benefits: survivor benefits. A spouse is eligible to receive survivor benefits if their spouse, before passing away, was receiving monthly benefits that were greater than that of their spouse’s monthly benefits.
In the case that one spouse has a shorter life expectancy than the other, it is not always advisable to claim Social Security benefits early. Couples should take survivor benefits into consideration because, if a spouse claims other benefits early, due to a shorter life expectancy, it will limit the survivor benefits his or her spouse could claim after their passing.
Consult With a Lawyer
When you and your spouse are no longer able to work, due to disability or retirement, Social Security benefits often become the primary source of income. Maximizing the benefits of both you and your spouse is crucial to ensuring your financial stability for the future. Consulting an experienced attorney can help you and your spouse understand and take advantage of the various benefits available to couples.
For more information on Social Security disability benefits, contact us today!