Your Social Security benefit amount is dependent upon a number of factors—567 unique combinations, to be precise. Consequently, there are steps that you can take to make sure you’re receiving the most benefit amount possible. While you should always consult with a professional to understand your estimated future benefit amount, here are some things to think about regarding getting the most out of your benefits.
When You Choose to Start Collecting
When you choose to start collecting benefits will have a large impact on your benefit amount; the later you decide to start collecting, the larger your monthly benefit amount will be. Waiting until after full retirement age to start claiming your benefits, depending upon your circumstances, may yield two to three percent more per month based on delayed retirement credits.
Benefits for Minors and Spouses
In some cases, the spouse of a worker who is claiming Social Security can collect benefits on the worker’s record, regardless of age, if the spouse is caring for a minor under the age of 16.
In addition to the above, children who are under the age of 18, or are 19 but are currently in secondary school, are able to receive monthly benefits in the case that a parent has died, is retired, or is disabled. Family benefit amounts are an extremely important thing to consider when thinking about Social Security benefits.
Coordinating Your Claim Time
If you are married, coordinating the time that you and your spouse claim your retirement benefits is critical to potentially increase your benefit amount. It is often advised that the spouse with the high earning record wait as long as possible to claim—by claiming early, the other spouse’s benefit amount may be significantly reduced. For married couples, if one person claims early, it should be the spouse with the lower income.
A Consultation with a Professional is a Good Idea
Potentially increasing your benefit amount isn’t about making a guess; rather, it’s about knowing the specifics of your income and your financial situation, and formulating a plan about what is most advantageous for you. To help you estimate your future benefits and boost your benefit amount, you need to consult with a Social Security professional as soon as possible.