Month: August 2017

Claiming Social Security Benefits

Approaching retirement? Have you thought about when to claim Social Security benefits?

We’ll get to the details in a bit, but first, find out what you already know about this subject by taking a quick quiz:

Full retirement age

Many people have the misconception that full retirement age is when they reach 65. But it actually depends on your birth year. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is when you turn 66. If you were born in 1955, it is 66 and two months. Add two months per year until you reach 1960 and beyond, when full retirement age is 67.

(If you were born in 1937 or earlier, your full retirement age was 65. From 1938 to 1942, retirement age ranges from 65 and two months to 65 and 10 months. You’ve likely already retired.)

Age and claiming

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, you’ll generally get the same amount in lifetime benefits no matter what age you choose to file, assuming you live to average life expectancy.

But the amount you get each month can differ substantially depending on the age at which you file.

You can start claiming Social Security benefits at age 62. Many people opt to do this. As I speak across the country explaining how to plan and maximize your Social Security, I meet all kinds of people that are not getting what they are entitled to. More importantly, the Social Security Administration won’t offer that assistance.  However, your monthly benefits will be about 25 to 30 percent less than if you wait till your full retirement age to file. This is why seeking advise from a Social Security Benefits Planner so you can get a forecast of what your benefits will be.

Social Security Benefits Frequently Asked Questions

According to the United States Government, over 59 million individuals will receive approximately $863 billion in Social Security benefits this year. With numbers like that, chances are good that you or someone you know may be eligible for benefits soon.  Social Security Benefit Planners answer some of the more common questions people ask about Social Security.

Do I qualify for Social Security retirement benefits?

Depending on your date of birth, the normal age of retirement (a government term related to the age in which benefits can kick in) is 65-67.  Take our quiz and find out exactly how much you understand about your own Social Security Benefits. You can apply for benefits if you are at least 61 years and 9 months old, or as late as age 70.

How do I apply for Social Security benefits?

You can apply for Social Security benefits either online, or in person at the Social Security office if there is one in your city. Click on our Interactive Map and find out how we can help in YOUR State

The Social Security Administration recommends starting the application process at least four months in advance of your planned retirement, and you will need information such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, and other government-issued documents. This list published by the Social Security Administration gives the full list of documents that may be needed for your application.

When is the best time to apply?

Every individual’s needs are different, but factors that may impact your decision to collect retirement can include your health, your financial needs, your other sources of income, and your plans to work after you start collecting your benefits. This is because the total dollar amount of your benefits will vary based on how old you are when you claim the benefit and whether or not you are still working.

If you are getting a divorce, you should also be thinking about Social Security. If you were married at least 10 years and do not ever re-marry, you may qualify for benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings when you both reach age 62. The result is that you could receive the higher of benefits based on your own work history or half of your former spouse’s benefit, even if he or she has remarried.

How much Social Security am I entitled to?

As of 2014, the maximum benefit per month for a person who earned the maximum taxable earnings for 35 years or more is $2,663 per month. However, the average monthly retirement benefit is $1,328.  Learn about the FACTS of Social Security

Have more questions about how to Maximize YOUR Social Security? Ask Faye Sykes, National Speaker for Social Security Benefit Planners and learn how planing now will save you time and money later.