Social Security is plenty confusing, so it’s easy to feel insecure about your benefits. There are many factors to consider when filing for benefits, and with everyone living with different situations there is no one correct way to go forward. CNBC’s Trina Paul offers some helpful Social Security tips that you can use to potentially better your benefits. In addition to these tips, the most important thing to remember is to make your Social Security work best you and your situation.
Helpful Tip #1
The first of the helpful Social Security tips is understand that there are elements that can subtract from your benefits without you necessarily being aware. The biggest one to look out for are income taxes. Social Security can be taxed; however, it is solely dependent on your “combined income.” For those with a combined income over the capped limit set by the SSA, then your benefits may be subject to income taxes. Having multiple income streams in retirement isn’t just an option, but a strong recommendation. Knowing how these may affect your benefits, will help you gain better control over your benefits.
Helpful Tip #2
Secondly, when it comes to marriage you and your spouse share everything, and Social Security may be included. There are more benefit options available than people might realize, Marriage and Spousal benefits for example. Whether you’re married or divorced, a spouse can claim benefits based off the higher earner in the relationship. A spouse can collect up to 50 percent of the higher earner’s benefit. If you are still the higher earner, your benefits stay the same; however, as always, your benefits may be smaller if you collect Social Security at a younger age. Regardless of when you decide to collect your benefits, your spouse still could collect up to 50 percent.
Helpful Tip #3
Lastly, be hyper aware of your full retirement age. The full retirement age is the age you can collect benefits without facing a penalty. As of 2022, everyone 62 or older can claim Social Security; however, the full retirement age is 67. If you claim before your full retirement age, you could potentially face a reduced benefit up to 30 percent. Luckily, you can suspend your benefits till you grow older, and reclaim them for a higher amount. Your benefits can grow eight percent every year till age 70. So, if you were in a situation where you needed your benefits, or were unaware of this rule, you can better your future benefits by waiting. This may not be the solution for everyone, but it remains a viable option.
The Council for Retirement Security is fighting for all Americans to have a safe, and secure retirement. With the right knowledge, and the right strategy, we can prolong our retirement for years to come.