Social Security filing is a very complex process. However, a large majority of its potential recipients fail to see the true complexities of Social Security until it’s too late.
You should know what’s at stake before you step a foot into the Social Security Administration office to file. It can make up an integral part of one’s retirement nest egg; therefore, it makes good financial sense to “know before you go.”
Which benefits you take and when you take them remains, even under the new law, a major factor in lifetime benefit maximization. You can take benefits far too early. But you can also take benefits far too late.
Your timing of retirement benefits is crucial; both for the size of your own payments and of those you might collect on the earnings record of a current or ex-spouse, dead or alive. You cannot collect on a spousal benefit unless your spouse is collecting their own retirement benefit or suspended their own retirement benefit before the end of April 2016. You cannot collect a spousal benefit by itself unless you reached 62 before January 2, 2016.
The Social Security stars have to be carefully aligned for you to collect certain benefits i.e., you’re 62 and your husband is 22, you’ll be 102 before you can collect a spousal benefit based on his work record, unless he becomes entitled to disability or dies.
Social Security is insanely complex; therefore, it is extremely difficult, without professional assistance, to figure out what to do.
Be patient — get the best deal for you by waiting as long as possible.
Take all available benefits — there are nine benefits plus retirement benefits. Learn about them and file for them if you are eligible.
Working after age 60 can raise benefits for current and former family members.
Already collecting? Consider suspending and restarting your benefit later. The best way for millions of people to avoid a miserable financial future is to wait to collect Social Security. Be patient in taking certain benefits because they can be massively bigger, enhanced by time.
One of the toughest things about Social Security is knowing what the payment you receive actually represents and what it doesn’t represent. Suspend your benefit after April 2016 comes at a cost, you won’t be eligible to provide spousal or child benefits while your benefit is in suspension.
The Deeming Devil: If you try to collect two benefits at the same time, you will not get both. Instead, Social Security will give you the larger of the two benefits or something pretty close.
You should not always stop working because you think you will not get back the money taken by the Earnings Test. You will get it back in many cases, except when you don’t.
Working even part-time and then going onto disability can mean losing your disabled child and surviving child benefits.
Remarry a day too soon and lose divorced widow(er) benefits potentially worth tens-of-thousands of dollars.