Before you sign up for Social Security, think about these things

Collecting Social Security benefits appears straightforward – attain retirement age, file for benefits, and begin getting cheques. Although, if you want to get the most out of your benefits, you should ask specific questions prior to filing.

What Is the Age at Which I Can Retire?

Your full retirement age, alternatively referred to as your typical retirement age, is the age at which you’re able to begin receiving your Social Security payments in full. The Social Security Administration defines full retirement age, which varies according to your birth date. Being born in 1960 or after means you are eligible to retire at the age of 67. It is 65 if you were born in 1937 or earlier.

When it comes to Social Security retirement age, you have three alternatives. You can file for benefits when you reach full retirement age, as early as age 62, or as late as age 70.

This is critical to understand before filing because it has an effect on the amount of your award. Filing at the age of 62, means your payments may be cut by up to 30%. If you delay retirement until after reaching full retirement age, your benefits may grow by up to 8% per year until you reach the age of 70 if you were born in 1943 or later.

How Much Money Do I Need to Break Even?

A straightforward breakeven age calculation might assist you in determining when to collect Social Security payments. Your breakeven age is the age at which you would receive the same total lifetime benefit regardless of when you began receiving benefits.

Your breakeven age is determined by the amount of your benefit payments and the date on which you claim them. To assist you in determining your benefit amount, you can use the Social Security Administration’s calculator. For the majority of persons, the breakeven age is between 77 and 83.

Have I Put in Enough Years of Service?

Ensure that you qualify for Social Security before filing. To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you must have 40 credits of coverage. As of 2018, you are eligible for one coverage credit for every $1,320 in wages subject to Social Security taxes, which can mean up to a maximum of four credits per year.

Due to the fact that quarters of coverage were defined differently in previous years, you can contact the Social Security Administration to determine if you qualify for retirement benefits or the amount of your shortfall.

You may not require 40 quarters of coverage if you are applying for disability or survivor’s payments. Consult the Social Security Administration or your tax advisor for more information.

What Is the State of My Health?

When you should collect Social Security retirement benefits is highly dependent on your health. While no one can forecast their exact lifespan with accuracy, you can make an educated prediction based on your family history, genetics, and current health status.

If you’ve led a healthy life and your family history indicates longevity, you may be able to optimize your benefits by delaying your claim until after reaching full retirement age. If you’ve experienced health difficulties in the past or if they run in your family, you may choose to begin receiving benefits sooner.

Is My Earnings History Accurate?

Your Social Security benefits are determined by your work history. This is a summary of your earnings and Social Security taxes as reported to the Social Security Administration. You can access your earnings record and estimated benefits at any time on the Social Security Administration’s website.

Because payments are based on earnings, you should review your Social Security statement annually to ensure that the Social Security Administration has an accurate record of your earnings.

The Social Security Administration calculates your payments based on your 35 highest-earning years. If you have any low- or no-earning years, you can increase your benefit by substituting higher-earning years for those years. If you discover any errors, you may be defrauding yourself of money if you do not repair them. The Social Security Administration gives advice on how to fix inaccuracies in your record.

How Are Spousal Benefits Defined?

If you are an eligible recipient’s spouse, you should inquire about spousal benefits. You may wind up gaining a benefit that exceeds what you could obtain on your own. The beauty of spousal benefits is that you may be eligible for payments once you reach the age of 62 regardless of whether you have worked or not.

You should inquire about spousal benefits even if you are divorced. If you were married for a minimum of ten years, you may be eligible for spousal payments from your divorced spouse — even if they remarried — as long as the following conditions are met:

– You are at least 62 years old – You are single – Your ex-spouse may be eligible for benefits.
– Your own benefit is less than the benefit of your spouse

If you claim a spousal benefit from an ex-spouse at full retirement age, you are entitled to one-half of the amount received by your ex-spouse.

Is Social Security Compensatory?

Social Security provides advantages other than retirement. Additionally, the following individuals are eligible for benefits under the program:

– Beneficiaries’ dependents, including spouses and children
– Disabled individuals – Survivors of deceased workers, including divorced spouses
– Relatives of deceased employees, such as parents, spouses, children, and divorced spouses

While you’re contacting the Social Security Administration with inquiries about enrolling in Social Security, you can use the SSA’s online Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool. By completing the questionnaire, you will learn the benefits you may be qualified for, as well as how to qualify for and apply for those benefits.

Are My Benefits Taxable?

Social Security benefits are tax-free for the majority of recipients. However, if you earn a significant amount of money in addition to your Social Security benefits, you may be required to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of your benefits.

For these reasons, the Social Security Administration defines income as earnings, self-employment income, dividends, interest, or any other taxable income that you would typically disclose when filing your taxes. The following table summarizes the income levels at which Social Security benefits are taxed.

Finding updated and accurate information regarding Social Security can sometimes be a struggle, but to make things easier for people, the following are great resources to help aid your Social Security endeavors.