August 19, 2015
When it comes to Social Security, less is not more. The Social Security professionals at Disability Associates, LLC. in Maryland provide three simple tips for maximizing your disability benefits.
Millions of Americans rely on their monthly Social Security checks to help make ends meet while a substantial portion of them get the bulk of their retirement income from such. If you want to maximize your benefits, it’s important to make sure you’re getting every penny of the benefits that you deserve. The following three factors can help you do just that.
- Claim at a later age. If you want to increase the amount you receive, wait longer before taking Social Security. For example, if you’re 62 you would receive a $750 benefit by claiming now. If you waited until you were 66 to claim your benefits, you’d receive $1,000. At age 70, you’d receive $1,320. Moreover, these figures do not account for inflation, so your monthly payments will still increase depending on the general price changes.
Keep in mind that unlike earning more, waiting longer before collecting Social Security doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more in total over the course of time. Yet, if you have the ability to wait, and wish to receive the largest monthly payment possible, the Social Security Administration’s reward for putting off your Social Security benefits can be beneficial.
- Make the most of spousal and survivor benefits. Families will approach each spouse’s Social Security benefits separately. However, coordinating with your spouse may allow for a larger total for your Social Security checks.
The file and suspend strategy is when the higher-earning spouse files for benefits at full retirement age, but chooses not to receive them and suspends them instead. By doing this, the higher-earner allows for their spouse to collect spousal benefits even as they wait until later to collect their own retirement benefits. Similarly, filing a restricted application for spousal benefits allows you to claim benefits based on your spouse’s work history. Thus, tapping into your own benefits at a later time.
Additionally, divorced spouses can often claim benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work history. If you were married for 10 years and haven’t been remarried, you can generally make a claim based on the work history of your former husband/wife.
Lastly, survivor benefits are not only based on your work history but also on when you claim benefits. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense for you to wait, but your family might benefit more from delaying your benefits.
- Take your work history into account. If you max out your work history, you have the opportunity to receive a much larger sum in benefits. The Social Security Administration uses a formula that recognizes the 35 years you earned the most after indexing all of your years of earnings for inflation.
If you’ve worked fewer than 35 years and will claim benefits based on your own work history, then each additional year that you work before you retire, automatically adds to your monthly check when you start taking Social Security. If you’ve worked 35 years or more, you must weigh whether your earnings will be higher than your lowest-earning year in the past. Be sure to remember how inflation is affecting your benefits.
In most circumstances, choosing to extend your career will boost your average earnings for Social Security purposes and make your benefits check larger.
Less isn’t more when it comes to Social Security – more is always more. Receiving additional benefits from the program is not always easy. By following these helpful hints closely, you might put yourself in a better position to make the most of Social Security. For more information on Social Security and what to do with your unique situation, contact Disability Associates, LLC. today.