Thinking about retirement? In spite of your preconceived ideas about Social Security, it remains a vital part of most Americans’ retirement, and it is more than tooth paste money as Social Security has served as a main source of income for millions of Americans. In fact, 61% of Americans rely on Social Security to produce half of their income.
However, there is a problem, Social Security was not designed as a total retirement to cover all of a senior’s costs. So, this leads to a commonly asked question:
When should I take my Social Security, sooner or later?
Generally speaking, every situation deserves a thorough review. However, my general advice to people is that it is better to get something now than nothing later. Here are some facts to consider:
- You can be working full or part time and still collect Social Security
- You can be employed and receive Social Security benefits
- If you are currently beyond your full retirement age, you can work as much as you would like and still receive full benefits.
- If your spouse has worked long enough to qualify for Social Security, you both qualify for full benefits
- If your spouse did not work, or earned only a small amount and therefore qualifies for a benefit that is less than half of yours, your spouse’s payment will be increased to a rate equal to half of your own benefit amount
What happens if a spouse dies?
If the surviving spouse has reached his or her full retirement age, the spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount. Prorated amounts are paid to surviving spouses who have not yet reached retirement age. In the case where the surviving spouse was already receiving Social Security benefits and the deceased’s benefits were greater, the survivor will receive the higher benefit amount.
Checking your Social Security account
If you are younger it is always wise to check on your current Social Security earnings, just like you would any other investment you own.
- You can establish an account by going to SocialSecurity.gov/MyAccount
- You will be asked personal and security questions. Be sure to write this information down and keep it handy for easy reference
- Each time you sign in online you will be sent a 8-digit security code
- The site is user friendly and secure
Applying for Social Security
You can apply online for benefits at SocialSecurity.gov/ApplyForBenefits or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778. I would highly recommend making an appointment with a counselor in your local Social Security office and, after consulting, you can apply for your benefits right there in the Social Security office.
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