Social Security Simplified



1. Being unaware of spousal perks.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks kindly upon married seniors, allowing them to choose between the higher of two benefits — their own or up to 50% of their spouse’s full retirement amount.


2. Underestimating survivor benefits.

Don’t claim Social Security benefits before full retirement age without considering the impact it could have on your spouse — particularly if you’re the higher earner. That’s because widows and widowers are eligible for up to 100% of their deceased spouse’s benefits, including any delayed retirement credits that might have accumulated.


3. Jumping the gun on jumping the broom.

Nearing retirement and planning on tying the knot a second time? You may want to hold off a bit. That’s because 60 is the age when widows and widowers can begin to collect survivor benefits if they haven’t yet remarried. If you wait until age 60 or after to remarry, you’re eligible for what could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.


4. Not checking your earnings record.

Everybody slips up. But in the case of the federal government, clerical errors related to your tax return could result in the SSA not recording your income for a given year.


5. Hanging up your hat too early. 

The majority of retirees begin collecting Social Security before full retirement age. But doing so cuts the size of your monthly check.


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  • FC&A Staff Writer