What does Social Security have in common with the Loch Ness Monster?
For one thing, they can both be hard to picture. They’ve both been around for a long time. And finally, they both have an air of mystery about them.
People might not talk about Social Security like they do Nessie, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t quick to believe a myth or legend. We can’t set the record straight about lake monsters, but we can shed some needed light on something that can feel just as scary — Social Security. Here are three more debunked myths about Social Security.
Myth #1: You can’t work and get benefits at the same time
The quick answer is, yes you can. You can work, earn an income, and get Social Security at the same time. In fact, many people do to better save for retirement. There are some rules to know however, as working can affect your benefits in certain situations. Your Social Security might decrease if you have a high-earning year while you’re receiving benefits. However, your benefit is based on 35 of your highest-earning years, so your benefits might be increased the following year, depending.
Myth #2: I can claim benefits early and they’ll increase when I’m older
The honest answer, no they won’t. According to the SSA, your benefits will be reduced if you claim them before your full retirement age. Once you claim your benefits, they will not automatically increase as you get older. Alternatively, you can claim benefits either at or past your full retirement age and received an increased benefit. If you claimed early and want to increase your benefit, you have the option to delay or pause your benefits until your reach retirement age. Every year you delay your claimed benefits, you’ll receive an eight percent increase until your full retirement age.
Myth #3: I’m paying for my ex’s Social Security benefit
The true answer is, no you aren’t, but your benefits are used to calculated theirs. Divorce is tricky, but luckily, divorce with Social Security doesn’t have to be. It depends on your situation, but if you were a higher earner than your current or ex-spouse, they have the option to have their benefits be 50 percent of your total amount. Their benefit doesn’t come out of yours; it’s just a reflection. They have the option to delay their earning benefit, in favor of their marriage benefit if it’s a higher amount, and can switch to their original benefit when they reach retirement age.
The Council for Retirement Security doesn’t know much about the Loch Ness Monster, but we do know Social Security. We work hard to protect it and clear up any misinformation, or debunked myths, associated with the program.