If you are married, there is a strategy that may allow you to claim some Social Security benefits immediately and then claim...Read more
3 Little-Known Strategies to Maximize Social Security Benefits
- November 3rd, 2015
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Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
For Jeffrey Hammond, the practice of Elder Law is personal. Jeff’s many years of experience in law and in business did not prepare him for the crisis he faced in 2005 and 2006 when his father suffered a stroke and both of his parents suffered from dementia and other medical problems. At that time, Jeff began an i...
Law Offices of John L. Laster
John Laster is a lawyer licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He limits his practice to wealth transfer planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney, health care decision-making issues, estate administration and related tax, elder law and disability concerns. Listed in The Best Lawyers...
The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm PC
Bill founded The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. in 1994. Bill limits his practice to the areas of estate planning and administration, incapacity planning, Medicaid, asset protection planning, and elder law. He is one of (15) fifteen attorneys practicing in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, ce...
While collecting Social Security benefits may seem straightforward, there are actually several strategies for collecting benefits -- especially if you are married -- that can increase your retirement benefits.
There are three basic options for when to start taking Social Security benefits: You may begin taking benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age, you can wait until your full retirement age (which varies by your age), or you can delay benefits and take them anytime up until you reach age 70. The longer you delay, the higher your benefit will be. If you are married, you have a fourth option: You can collect spousal benefits instead of collecting on your own record. If your spouse earned considerably more than you, this can be a very attractive choice. For more information about spousal benefits, click here.
While there are four basic options for collecting benefits, there are ways to combine these choices to provide even more options. Here are three of the top strategies that you can use to maximize your Social Security benefits:
- File and Suspend. This strategy works for couples in which one spouse is ready to retire, but the other spouse is planning to continue working. A working spouse who has reached full retirement age can file for benefits and then immediately suspend them. Once the worker suspends benefits, the non-working spouse can begin receiving spousal benefits while the worker continues to work. The longer the worker delays retirement, the more delayed retirement credits he or she will accumulate. To learn more about this strategy, click here.
- Claim Now, Claim More Later. Under this strategy, the spouse who earned less would claim early retirement benefits at 62 while the higher-earning spouse waited. The higher-earning spouse would claim a spousal benefit once he or she reached full retirement age. Then at 70, the higher-earning spouse would claim the maximum amount of his or her retirement benefit and stop receiving the spousal benefit. For more information, click here.
- Do-Over Rule. Suppose you reach early retirement age and have a short-term need for money? An individual who is 62 years or older can start collecting benefits but stop the benefits within 12 months of the start, repay the benefits collected, and then still be eligible for the higher benefit amount at full retirement age or older. It is essentially a one-year interest free loan. If you take benefits early but are not able to stop the benefits within 12 months of starting, you can still suspend your benefits in order to earn higher benefits. For example, if you start collecting at 62 but no longer need the income once you reach your full retirement age, you could suspend benefits until 70. You won't get a complete do-over, but between your full retirement age and 70 you would earn delayed retirement credits, which would increase your ultimate benefit amount when you collect at age 70. To learn more about this strategy, click here.
For information on a book that explains these strategies and more, click here.
For more information about Social Security, click here.
Last Modified: 11/03/2015