7 ways to increase Social Security Benefits

7 Ways To Boost Social Security Benefits

There is no one size fits all age; your unique circumstances and goals will dictate the appropriate time for you to take Social Security (SS) retirement benefits. Some SS strategies may boost your monthly benefit amount, helping you get the most from your SS benefits. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Work 35+ years. SS benefits are calculated using your 35 highest-earnings years, making it essential to have at least 35 years of full-time work. Working beyond your full retirement age can help boost your earnings qualification number and monthly benefit amount.
  2. Suspend SS benefits. If you took SS benefits before your full retirement age and age 70, you may suspend your payments and earn delayed credits, helping boost your monthly benefit by 8% for each year of suspended benefits to age 70.
  3. Delay SS benefits. You can increase your monthly benefit if you delay claiming Social Security past your full retirement age. You will accrue delayed retirement credits that will boost your monthly benefit by 8% for each year of delay between your full retirement age and age 70.
  4. Use the SS spousal benefit strategy. Married couples can use this strategy where one spouse claims benefits up to 50% of their spouse’s benefit if the benefit is higher than their own. Ex-spouses can also use this strategy if married for at least ten years.
  5. The spousal split. Using this strategy, the lower-earning spouse takes SS retirement benefits at an earlier age, such as 67, and the higher-earning spouse delays their benefits until age 70. This scenario allows access to some early SS retirement benefits and a higher benefit amount.
  6. SS survivor benefits. When one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can claim the deceased’s benefits if higher. Delaying survivor benefits until the deceased spouse’s full retirement age or older helps increase the surviving spouse’s monthly benefit.
  7. SS Survivor benefits for children. Children of a deceased worker can qualify for benefits until age 18 or 19 while a full-time high school student and for a child diagnosed with a disability up to age 22. A widow or widower caring for a child under 18 may also qualify for benefits.

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Determining how claiming benefits at specific ages and using SS strategies will impact your situation over time is essential. A financial professional can help calculate your benefit amount or go to www.ssa.gov to register and calculate your benefit amount at specific ages. Once you have your information, you can determine what age is appropriate for you.

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