One day, Social Security might comprise a significant part of your retirement income. Anyone would be nervous about the prospect of living on a fixed income, but luckily there are steps you can take to maximize your benefits. Consider these 9 ways to earn a larger monthly check from Social Security.
Check your records. Social Security will calculate your benefits based upon your earnings history. Before you retire, ask for a copy of your work report to make sure it accurately reflects your past earnings. Mistakes can and do happen, you will want to rectify those before you retire and claim your benefits.
Boost your earnings history. Social Security will base your future benefits upon your 35 highest-earning years of employment. This may sound obvious, but earning more money will help you earn a higher benefits check one day. Consider taking on occasional side jobs or going back to school to learn valuable new skills.
Work at least 35 years. If your income is reported as 0 for several years, this will affect the final calculation of your benefits.
Wait until full retirement age to claim your benefits.Claiming your benefits early, at age 62, will result in a monthly check that is about 25 percent smaller. Waiting until your full retirement age is the only way to receive your full benefits.
Work beyond your full retirement age. For each year that you continue to postpone your claim, your benefits will grow by about 8 percent. This will stop at age 70, though, so there's no reason to delay your claim after that point.
Claim spousal benefits instead. If your own work record won't net you a sizable Social Security benefit, investigate your spousal benefit. It will be about 50 percent of your spouse's check. Even if you're now divorced, you can claim spousal benefits as long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years.
Watch your earnings if you claim your benefits early. If you claim your Social Security benefits earlier than full retirement age, your checks could be reduced depending upon your earnings. If you don't earn much, or only work part-time, this rule might not hurt you.
Claim benefits for your dependents. Some people are still caring for disabled adult children, or have adopted their grandchildren, when they claim their Social Security benefits. Don't forget to file a claim for your child, too.
File for your survivor's benefit. If your spouse draws a larger Social Security benefit, you can inherit their benefit after their death.
For more information on Social Security benefits, or about retirement income planning in general, give us a call. We can help you find the solutions that work for your situation!
This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
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