Knowing how you will claim Social Security benefits–including what benefit types are available to you and when you will start claiming them–is an important part of planning for your financial future. It is also important to remember that once you make a decision, there are no do-overs; once you have started claiming benefits, you cannot change your claiming strategy and receive an increase in benefits later on. For this reason, it is essential that you have a well thought out strategy in place in advance.
If you are planning to claim Social Security retirement benefits when you are no longer working, you can start claiming your benefits as early as age 62. Those who are in bad health or need the money often choose this; claiming benefits as soon as they are available can be very helpful for some families.
The other option is to delay claiming your Social Security benefits until after you reach full retirement age, which you may do up until age 70. Those who expect to live for many years and can afford to live without benefits for a few years often select this option.
While you can claim benefits early, doing so has its consequences. If you claim benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced in order to account for the additional months that you are receiving benefits. On the other hand, if you wait until after you reach full retirement age to start claiming benefits, your monthly benefit amount will increase.
In addition to paying attention to the age at which you should collect benefits, it is also important to consider whether you will claim benefits off of your own record, the record of a spouse, or even the record of an ex-spouse. All three are options, and which is best for you depends on your earnings and income, your age, and your spouse’s/ex-spouse’s earnings and income during their working years. If you are married, or were married for at least 10 years but have since divorced and have not remarried, speaking to a financial professional about how different claiming strategies will affect the amount of money you receive long term is highly recommended.
Keep in mind that another form of Social Security benefit that millions of people collect is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This type of Social Security benefit is designed for those who are disabled as a result of an accident or a health condition, and as such, are not able to work and engage in substantial gainful activity.
There are many strategies for claiming benefits and maximizing your benefit amount. If you live in Munster and want to learn more about the options available to you, our team at Harvest Social Security QA recommends that you attend one of our free Social Security workshops. These workshops serve as educational opportunities that provide you with a chance to ask questions and gather important information. Sign up for one of our workshops near Munster online today.
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