Now that you understand a little more about how Social Security retirement benefits work, and how important this income stream can be to your retirement, here are some tips to help you get the maximum Social Security benefits you are entitled to:
Your retirement benefit is based on your top 35 years of earnings so it’s important to get as many “high earning” years in as possible. If you’re at the top of your career as far as income goes, working just one year longer in a high paying job could make a big difference in your retirement benefit.
Under the current Social Security Act, you are penalized for every month you take your Social Security benefits before you reach your full retirement age, with the maximum penalty being 25%.
Continue Reading Getting the Maximum Social Security Benefits
You’re getting ready to retire and you’ve made the decision to start collecting your Social Security retirement benefits. What’s the next step? You need to actually apply for your benefits (they aren’t automatic).
Probably one of the most common Social Security questions is how to apply for Social Security benefits. There are three ways to apply for Social Security:
1. You can apply online at www.SocialSecurity.gov. However, at this time you can not apply for Social Security survivor benefits online.
Continue Reading How to Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits
First, please note that you receive a Social Security retirement benefit estimate each year in the mail, usually around your birth date. There are also several calculators available on the Social Security website to help you estimate how much your Social Security benefits will be, so you don’t need to know how to calculate the benefit yourself.
Continue Reading How are Social Security Benefits Calculated?
The full retirement age for people retiring now (including baby boomers who were born between 1943 and 1954) is age 66. The full retirement age will gradually increase for people born after 1954 until it reaches age 67 (for people born in 1960 or later).
However, people can choose to collect benefits as early as age 62, as late as age 70, or anywhere in between.
If you choose early retirement, you can collect benefits as early as age 62, but your benefits will be reduced for each month that you collect them before you reach full retirement age. People who retire at age 62 and start collecting Social Security at that time will only receive 75% of the benefit they would receive at full retirement age.
Continue Reading Social Security Retirement Age: When Can You Retire?
Social Security eligibility is one of the top concerns that retirees have. How and when do you qualify for Social Security? To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you must work in a Social Security covered job for at least 10 years. More specifically, you must earn 40 credits (you can earn 4 credits per year) to qualify.
A credit is earned when you earn a minimum dollar amount; in 2009 the minimum amount you needed to earn in order to earn a credit is $1,090. You can earn up to four credits per year, so someone who earns at least $4,360 in 2009 will earn four credits.
You do not have to earn the credits consecutively to qualify. You can earn 10 credits, leave the work force to raise a family, then return later to earn the remaining 30 credits.
Most people underestimate the impact that Social Security retirement benefits will have on their retirement. They either assume it won’t be there for them, or that it won’t be enough to make a difference.
The truth is that Social Security will be there for you (although I suspect it will be revised several times to help improve the financial outlook of the system), and it could play a big part in your retirement years, depending on how much other income and assets you have available.
Social Security has several unique features that you won’t see in most financial products available today:
Guaranteed Income: Once you start collecting benefits, they can’t be taken away from you. Benefits may be reduced in the future as Social Security is reformed, but it’s very unlikely that retirees who are already collecting benefits will see their benefits cut.
Continue Reading Don’t Underestimate Social Security When Planning For Retirement
As Baby Boomers are getting closer and closer to retirement, they have many questions about Social Security retirement benefits, such as…
Will Social Security be there for me when it’s my time to retire?
We’ve heard for years that Social Security is going broke. Millions of Americans rely on Social Security to fund all or part of their retirement, so this is a huge concern in our country. So, just how true are the rumors that Social Security is going broke?
According to the 2009 Social Security Trustees Report, Social Security benefits paid out will exceed revenues starting in 2016, and the trust fund could be exhausted by the year 2037. Once the trust fund is exhausted, benefits will still be paid out, but the taxes collected from workers will only be enough to cover 76% of the benefits promised.
Continue Reading Common Social Security Retirement Questions