We all know that claiming Social Security benefits at the right time means you will have more money in your pocket, right? Retirement comes with happiness, but also with a lot of changes. And when you are years away from retirement, this system is something pretty big you should care about. Getting the most out of it is so simple.
You have to take into consideration a lot of things, especially if you want a decent monthly check. You don’t have to worry about anything as long as you file for the benefits.
For those who don’t know, Social Security is a program run by the federal government. And it works by using taxes paid into a trust fund to provide benefits to people who are eligible. When you apply for a job, you will need a Social Security number.
1. You may have to pay taxes on social security benefits
Most people are aware that Social Security is funded by an earnings tax, which is currently 6.2% for employees. And some retirees don’t realize that they need to pay income tax on Social Security benefits when it comes time to claim them. You should know that the benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984. Your welfare won’t be taxed if your provisional income is less than $25,000 if you’re single and $32,000 if you’re married.
If your provisional income is more than $34,000 on a single return or $44,000 on a joint return, up to 85% of your welfare may be taxable. It’s very well known that the number of people contributing to Social Security increases every year. I mean, who doesn’t want to be safe when it comes time for retirement? There are many ways you can lower your taxes on your benefits.
Switching money from an IRA to a Roth IRA will help because withdrawals from a Roth won’t increase the adjusted gross income. Once you turn 70 years old, a qualified charitable distribution is another tax-efficient strategy that is actually good for you.
How do you feel about this?
TIP: Remember that every year you work gets you credits to help you become eligible for benefits when it’s time for retirement!
Keep in mind that every change that happens in your life must be reported to the authorities because these changes might affect your situation. Changes can be: moving, getting married or divorced, changing your name, the beneficiary dying, if you are a non-citizen and your status changes, or if you are adopting a child.
If you are already eligible for the program, you can update your information online as well.
2. Other pensions might reduce your social security benefits
This is very important because if you have a pension from a job that didn’t have Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck, your benefits will be affected. There are two complicated provisions that will affect your claim, and those are WEP and GPO.
WEP will reduce your benefits because of a factor based on how many years you’ve been working in jobs that don’t pay Social Security taxes. The GPO reduces spousal and survivor welfare by two-thirds of the amount of your noncovered pension.
3. Social Security spousal benefit
Did you know that marriage is actually rewarded when it comes to Social Security? One of the spouses can take a spousal benefit worth up to 50% of the other spouse’s Social Security benefit. For example, if your monthly wealth is $2,000 but your spouse’s own benefit is only $500, she or he can collect $1,000, bringing in almost $500 more per month. As a side note, the spouse who earns more money must apply for their own Social Security first.
If you claim the benefit early, it might be reduced. This applies to this case as well. That 50% figure is the maximum amount that only a spouse who is at least at full retirement age is eligible for.
TIP: You may be unsure of your situation at the moment, but remember that you must have been married for at least 10 years to stake a claim to your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you end the marriage after nine years and 11 months, you’re not eligible.
4. Social Security survivor benefits for spouses and children
If your spouse dies before you, you may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits. But you must remember that this won’t be for your own benefit. You have to choose between the two. If you have already reached retirement age, that benefit is worth 100% of what your wife or husband was receiving at that time.
You can start taking advantage of this survivor benefit at the age of 60. You can take the survivor benefits as early as possible, which is age 60, and switch to your own retirement benefits at age 70.
If you want to remarry, there are some implications because if you do this before the age of 60, you won’t be able to take advantage of the survivor benefit. There is also something you should know. Eligible children who are under the age of 18 or were disabled before the age of 22 can also receive the Social Security survivor benefit.
5. Monthly social security benefits increase the longer you wait to claim
It’s already known that you can collect Social Security benefits when you turn 62, and if you want to collect the payment earlier, this will lead to a reduction. But if you are patient and wait until you are eligible for it, you will receive 100% of your earned benefits. Cool, right? Patience is gold.
For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you wait three full years until age 70, you’ll be able to claim 124 percent of your full benefit. On the other hand, you can benefit from delaying your benefit. The cost of living adjustment tends to increase the monthly payout over time.
If you want to know how to get more money out of your Social Security, check out the following book: Get What’s Yours – Revised & Updated: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security
6. Work with a specialized financial advisor
This might actually be the best thing you can do: ask for a specialized financial advisor. Because Social Security Administration employees are not permitted to advise you on your retirement plan.
This service might cost you a bit more than expected, but it will definitely help you.
According to statistics published in March 2023, of all the Social Security beneficiaries, 74% were retirees. The remaining group was made up of survivors of beneficiaries who had passed away (9%) as well as wives, ex-spouses, and children of retirees (4%) and disabled employees and their families (13%).
If you are wondering when you can get the benefits, you need to know that you can start collecting retirement benefits at age 62, but waiting until your full retirement age (which varies based on your birth year) can result in higher payouts.
How much money will you need when you reach retirement age? This is a question that most of us are asking, especially in these uncertain times. Recent statistics show that more than half of Americans are behind on their retirement payments, and another 16% are not sure if they’re doing OK or not. It’s actually easy to get a bigger Social Security check if you’ve aimed toward that goal your entire working life.
Even if you have only a few years until you want to claim the check, you still have plenty of things to do to boost your benefit.
What can you say about yourself? Are you feeling safe with your savings? Tell us in the comments.
You should also read: 7 Ways Your Retirement Jobs Affect Social Security