Did You Commit These Two Mistakes While Applying for Social Security Benefits?
Are you unhappy with your social security benefits? Did you receive less than you had expected? If yes, it’s perhaps because you had committed some mistakes while applying.
Not Making Adequate Preparations as a Woman
Whether you like it or not, women generally have to be extra prepared while planning for retirement. Besides, women tend to live longer than men. So it’s very likely you will end up a widow and need to make arrangements for your finances to last your lifetime.
Social security benefits are neutral.
It’s just that women who work outside of their homes end up losing about 11.5 years of working years. It is because they sacrifice their careers for a few years to take care of their children and elderly parents.
And while social security benefits are neutral, there, unfortunately, is a substantial gender pay gap.
Women earn lesser for the same job as their male counterparts. So they end up with smaller retirement accounts and subsequent lower social security payouts.
That’s why most women have no option but to work longer than usual to save more and bridge the gap. It leads to women opting to retire at about 70 instead of the full retirement age of 66 or 67.
This however works out to be a substantial benefit to them because they can thus increase their social security benefits as much as 24%.
There is some good news for women, though.
They can make use of spousal support benefits as a surviving spouse, even if divorced. It’s because women are eligible for divorced spousal and survivor benefits. They just need to have been married for ten years or more, and should not be married while claiming payouts.
Spouses who were divorced for more than two years, do not even have to file to receive divorced spouse benefits. They automatically start receiving it.
And the ex-spouse will not even know about or be affected by the benefits election. This means that there’s no need to worry about any ex-spouse learning that you are reaping their benefits too!
Applying for Social Security Benefits at the Wrong Time
This is a huge mistake many soon-to-be retirees make. They usually claim their benefits at the wrong time because they aren’t sure of the right time to do so.
Little do they know that there is no ‘right’ time to make a claim.
It all depends on your unique situation and individual calculations.
And unfortunately, most people apply for their social security benefits without first doing their calculations.
For example, if a retiree can work a few more years, and make do without the benefits, then they better do it. They end up contributing more to the program, which in turn increases their benefits.
Yes, you can claim your social security benefits when you turn 62. But you only end up permanently reducing your monthly check by as much as 25%.
It’s better instead to work a few more years and retire at your full retirement age, which is around 66 to 67.
And if you wait for even longer, your benefits increase as much as 8% per year until you reach 70. So it’s a win-win situation for you. You contribute more to the system when you are working to receive more and for a longer time after retiring.
In short, you shouldn’t make these mistakes of claiming for your social security benefits on an impulse.
It would help if you did your share of research and calculations to maximize your payouts. If in doubt, just turn to your Burbank social security attorney for guidance.