When it’s time to claim those social security benefits, depending on the Social Security Administration may be a mistake. Social Security employees generally don’t give case-specific advice. This means you are on your own to make the most important financial decision of a lifetime. These 7 secret benefits are often overlooked:
Married Couples Make More
If you wait: Waiting until you’re 70 to begin benefits can make you more money. Monthly payments are 76 percent higher than it would be if you had started to take benefits at 62 and 32 percent higher than it would be if you claimed at age 66.
Maximize Your Payout
Social Security doesn’t see itself as an oddsmaker, but it does require you to bet on your longevity. As an example, the break-even point for a person who earned the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $70,000 per year for 35 years is about age 80. If this person waits until 70 to claim Social Security and lives until at least age 90, he’ll accumulate almost $162,000 more in benefits than he would if he had claimed at 62.
Long & Happy Marriages May Increase Your payout
If you make it for 10 years, you can collect a Social Security benefit based on up to half of your ex’s earnings or on the basis of your own earnings — whichever is higher.
Divorce May Work In Your Favor
If you’re married 10 years or more: Assuming your ex will dwell on Planet Earth to a ripe old age, the longer your ex-spouse delays claiming Social Security, the better it is for you. Once you and your ex-spouse reach full retirement age — usually 66 — you can claim half your ex’s benefit and let your own grow untouched until you’re 70.
Special Perks for Widows/Widowers
A widow can begin drawing a survivor’s benefit on her late husband’s Social Security when she is as young as 60, but only at a reduced rate. Then she can choose to leave her own Social Security alone, allowing it to grow in value until her full retirement age — or even age 70.
You Can Hire An Advisor
When you apply for disability insurance, Social Security doesn’t tell you that your first step ought to be to hire a lawyer or other expert adviser. Allsup, a private firm that advises people about how to get SSDI, says Social Security doesn’t even make it clear that an applicant can have representation from the very beginning of the application process. As a result, lots of people don’t get help until they’ve been initially denied, and that slows down the process unnecessarily.
35 Years In The Workforce Is Ideal
Your Social Security payment is figured using a complex calculation based on a 35-year average of your covered wages. Each year’s wages are adjusted for inflation before being averaged. If you worked longer than 35 years, the government will use the highest 35 years. If you worked fewer than 35 years, they’ll average in zeros for the years you are lacking. You don’t have to be a math genius to figure out the impact of that — it drags down your average. If you can avoid zeros by working a couple of years longer, you’ll increase your Social Security payment.