Family Benefits

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 for Dependent Parents

Parents take care of us for so many years, and in some cases we are able to help our own parents in their retirement.  But what will happen if your dependent parent doesn’t outlive you?

Very few people know about an important social security benefit that can help your financially dependent parent should you die. If your parent relies on you for more than half of their living expenses, they may be able to receive benefits after your death. In order to take advantage of this benefit you must have earned enough credits to qualify for social security – that’s 40 credit hours – and your parent must:

Receive at least half of his or her support from you

  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Not have remarried since the adult child’s death
  • Not have an individual social security benefit that’s more than the potential benefit based on your earnings

How This Affects Social Security Benefit Planning

First, the age at which you claim your own retirement benefit doesn’t affect the time at which your parent can start receiving a parent’s benefit. (It is your date of death that determines that.)

Second, the age at which you claim your retirement benefit doesn’t affect the amount of your parent’s benefit based on your work record. The amount of a parent’s benefit is 82.5% of the deceased person’s primary insurance amount if there is one eligible parent. If there are two eligible parents, each parent’s benefit as a parent is 75% of the deceased person’s primary insurance amount. (If the parent is already receiving a different Social Security benefit — such as their own retirement benefit — then the total amount they will receive is the greater of the two benefits.)

We offer a FREE Quiz that you can take to test your knowledge on YOUR social security. Most often people wait until they need it the most.  Don’t be that person. Contact us today! Or Call: 877-270-SSBP (7727)

Social Security Myth #6: No more Social Security?

MYTH: Social Security will go broke in the next 20 years.

That’s a scary statement, and it gets tossed around frequently. Should you worry about it? Not really. Social Security is essentially a pay-as-you-go system. The workers today are paying through their FICA taxes for the benefits current retirees are receiving.

In 2017, if you are W-2 employee you pay 7.65% of your income into the program and your employer pays an equivalent amount. Self-employed workers are required to pay the full amount of 15.3% (but they may be able to deduct some of the expense when they file their annual tax returns).

Any surplus money currently goes into a trust fund and is invested into treasury bonds. By 2034 the trust is projected to run out of money, and this is the source of the scary “going broke” concept. Even if the projection is accurate, however this doesn’t mean that benefits will stop all together. The payroll taxes alone from those working in 2034 should still cover about 79% of promised benefits.

But it’s true that in this scenario there would not be enough money for the program to continue exactly as it is. Congress will need to act by raising taxes, cutting Social Security benefits or both. We should expect a solution to be hammered out long before 2034. Though either of these options would be hard choices that will no doubt inspire real debate, the risk to millions of Social Security beneficiaries that vote will hopefully get politicians of all persuasions to act in plenty of time to prevent the program from facing a true crisis.

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Social Security Myth #4: Only Minor Children Get Benefits When You Die.

MYTH: Social Security only helps minor children at your death.

You probably know that Social Security can provide benefits to children, but if you’re like most people, you believe that this can only happen if you die. That’s not the way it works, though.

Social Security was set up in 1935 to protect Americans, including their
children, through a paid insurance program known as FICA. That’s what the FICA taxes that come out of your paycheck each month are paying for. This program provides financial assistance in cases of disability, at retirement and at death.

If a parent – or in some cases, a guardian grandparent – is caring for a minor child or children and is receiving retirement or disability benefits through Social Security, the children may be eligible to also receive benefits. They may qualify for benefits if their parent or guardian dies as well.

In all three situations, the biological, adopted or dependent step-children may be able to receive benefits until they turn 18 – or longer, if they haven’t finished high school. Children with disabilities can continue receiving benefits for even longer.

The amount of benefits a child can receive varies but can be up to 75% the amount the deceased parent would collect from Social Security. A family limit applies when there are multiple children surviving the parent. This “family cap” is usually between 150% and 180% of the parent’s full benefit. No matter how many children are eligible to receive benefits, the total amount cannot exceed the family limit.

In cases where one parent passes away, a non-working parent or one who earns less that $16,920 per year may also receive additional Social Security family benefits until the child reaches age 16. Again, if the child is disabled, these benefits can continue beyond that age for the adult who exercises parental control and responsibility for the disabled child.

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Social Security for Dependent Parents

Dependent Parent Social Security Benefits

Parents take care of us for so many years, and in some cases we are able to help our own parents in their retirement. But what will happen if your dependent parent outlives you?

Very few people know about an important Social Security benefit that can help your financially dependent parent should you pass away before they do. If your parent relies on you for more than half of their living expenses, they may be able to receive benefits in the event of your death. In order to take advantage of this benefit you must have earned enough credits to qualify for Social Security – that’s 40 credit hours – and your parent must:

  • Receive at least half of their support from you
  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Not have remarried since the adult child’s death
  • Not have an individual Social Security benefit that’s more than the potential benefit based on your earnings

This benefit can be an important source of support for your aged parent in the unfortunate event of your death.

If you’d like to learn more about this or other Social Security benefits that can help your family, please contact our office at info@socialsecuritybp.com, or sign up for your Social Security benefit plan today.

Social Security Benefits for Children – Is Your Family Eligible?

Social security benefits for children

There are 4.3 million families that currently receive Social Security benefits to help support their children, but many more are eligible and don’t even know they could be getting additional income each month. Qualifying for this benefit has little to do with the children – it’s based on the parents’ status. (Disabled children may be able to collect Supplemental Security Income benefits based on their condition. They may also qualify for the benefits described in this article but the rules are slightly different.)

In a nutshell, Social Security benefits for children are designed to replace the income that is no longer provided by a parent who has retired, died or become disabled and therefore cannot work. The retired, deceased or disabled parent must have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security and the child must be unmarried and under 18 or a full-time student. Benefits end on the child’s 18th birthday, unless he or she is a full time high school student. In that case, benefits continue until graduation or two months after the child’s 19th birthday, whichever comes first.

Social Security benefits for children can be paid to a parent, step-parent, grandparent or another person who cares for the child (but the benefits may stop earlier in this case). The amount received each month depends on the specifics of the situation and the retired, deceased or disabled parent’s work history. In general, benefits are up to 50% of the full amount of a parent’s disability or retirement benefit or as much as 75% of the amount a deceased parent would have received. If other family members also receive Social Security benefits, a family cap on the amount received applies.

If you think you might qualify for Social Security income for a child in your care, contact our firm today. We’ll help you find out about any financial benefits you may be entitled to and complete the filing process so you can start receiving that income each month.