Learning how social security works is essential to retirement planning. Social security is oftentimes the sole fixed income once someone stops working, so learning social security laws is important. Here are five ways to increasing social security benefits so that you and your loved ones can live comfortably in retirement.
Claim Benefits Late
Normal retirement age is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later. However, if you can delay retirement to age 70, Social Security will pay an extra 8 percent for every year that you delay your claim until you reach 70 years old.
You and your spouse can try the two-claim strategy if both of you are working. This strategy depends on your age, so make sure to seek legal advice to see if you qualify. The two-claim approach is where one spouse claims spousal benefits at full retirement age while continuing to work and getting additional retirement credits. The other spouse becomes retired so that the working spouse files a “restricted application” for the spousal benefits while working. The working spouse ends up receiving spousal benefits that are equal to one-half of the retired spouse’s full benefits.
Divorced or Widowed
If you’re divorced, you can claim spousal or survivor benefits of your ex-spouse’s earnings if you were married for a minimum of 10 years and you’re not currently married. However, if you remarry after the age of 60, then you will be able to claim survivor benefits. If you’re widowed, you can also receive survivor benefits (if this is the case, try to wait until you reach normal retirement age first).
2018 Benefits Increase
With the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), there will be an increase in social security benefits as well. Since cost of living increases when prices rise for the everyday goods and services we use, social security benefits increase to offset these new living costs. 2018 will see a 2 percent increase in social security benefits.
Work for the Maximum Amount
To get the maximum benefits possible and you’re in the workforce, work for at least 35 years while paying into the social security tax. Couple this with the other strategies such as delaying benefits until age 70 and strategizing benefits with your spouse can create an overall best plan for you.
Navigating social security benefits and associated laws can be confusing, so contact us today so we can help you receive the maximum benefits you are owed.