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
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Jean Galloway Ball is certified in Elder Law by the National Elder Law Foundation. She is a 1977 honors graduate of the National Law Center, George Washington University, and she did her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. She is admitted to practice in Vir...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Susan Pollack served as Chairperson of the Falls Church Senior Citizens Commission from 1997 to 2011 and was on the Executive Board of the Falls Church Education Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of the National Capital Area and is a member of the Arlington B...
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