Maximizing your Social Security benefits becomes increasingly important as you get closer to retirement. After all, a sizable amount of your retirement income is expected to come from Social Security benefits. It can be difficult to optimise your benefits with so many restrictions and possibilities. But don’t worry; in this post, we’ll go over ways to maximise your Social Security benefits so you can live out your golden years in peace and security.
Postpone requesting your benefits
Delaying your Social Security claim as long as you can is one of the best ways to maximise your benefits. You will be paid your full entitlement to benefits if you wait until you reach full retirement age (FRA). But, if you can afford to hold off until age 70, each year you wait to file will result in a roughly 8% rise in your monthly payment. That means that if you wait until age 70 to file for benefits after reaching your FRA of age 66, your monthly payout will rise to $2,640.
Apply for Spousal Benefits
Based on your spouse’s past wages, you can qualify for spousal benefits if you’re married. You can apply for spousal benefits as early as age 62, and they can be as much as 50% of your spouse’s benefit amount. However bear in mind that receiving spousal benefits early will lower the amount of your own benefit when you receive it later. So, it may be preferable to defer claiming spousal benefits as well if you intend to wait until age 70 to claim your payments.
Make a Survivor Benefits claim
Depending on your spouse’s salary history, you might be qualified for survivor benefits in the event of their death. You can apply for survivors benefits as early as age 60 (or age 50 if you’re disabled), and they can equal up to 100% of your spouse’s benefit amount. It can be advantageous to hold off on claiming survivor benefits until your FRA because doing so will lower the monthly benefit amount.
Be wise about how you work.
If you work while receiving Social Security benefits, if you earn more than a particular amount, your payments may be cut. In contrast, if you earn less than your FRA in 2021, your benefits won’t be affected until you reach $18,960. There is no earnings limit once you achieve your FRA, and your benefits will be increased to make up for any benefits you were unable to get because of the earnings limit.
Think about your tax situation.
Depending on your income level, Social Security benefits can be subject to federal income tax. Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits could be subject to federal income tax if your total income, which includes half of your Social Security benefits, exceeds $25,000 for individuals or $32,000 for couples. When determining when to claim your benefits and how much you’ll receive, it’s crucial to take your tax status into account.
Planning ahead and taking into account your unique circumstances are essential to maximising your Social Security benefits. You can optimise your benefits and have a safe retirement by deferring your benefits claims, strategically claiming spousal and survivor benefits, working strategically, and taking your tax status into account. It’s never too early to begin retirement planning, so consider your Social Security benefits right away.