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Shhh…5 Social Security Secrets You May Not Know About

Finance & Planning

SocialSecuritySecrets.jpgThis Sunday is Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day (time to celebrate). Did you know that over 59 million Americans receive benefits from Social Security? The Social Security Administration reportedly pays out over $72 billion in benefits each month to retirees, disabled workers, and their family members. Are you getting everything you deserve? Whether you’re currently receiving Social Security benefits now or will receive benefits in the near future, its important to understand all you can so that you know exactly how much you should save and when to file. Below, we reveal 5 Social Security secrets you may not know about.

Check out this infographic that illustrates the information below!

1. The start-stop-start claiming strategy.

If you have elected to receive Social Security before full retirement age, you can stop your benefits and restart them later once you have reached age 70 when they will be larger due to the delayed retirement credit. This Start, Stop, Start claiming strategy may work for married couples where let’s say a wife files early to allow her husband to collect spousal benefits. When she reaches full retirement age, she can choose to suspend payments and restart them at age 70. When her husband begins collecting his own benefits, she can apply for a spousal benefit on his work history. There are variables involved in this claiming strategy and it may not work for all scenarios. So it’s important to speak with a retirement planner about your options before making any final decisions. Click to learn more about the Start, Stop, Start claiming strategy and if it’s right for you.

2. Collecting unemployment and Social Security—you may be able to double dip.

In some states, you can collect both unemployment benefits and Social Security at the same time. Social Security does not count unemployment benefits as earnings. However, it’s important to note that your unemployment benefits may be reduced if you are receiving benefits from Social Security. The guidelines for reducing unemployment benefits vary by state. Knowing how your state treats unemployment benefits is important since many older adults find themselves having to go back to work after retirement. So yes, it is possible to double dip, but you should let each agency know how much income you are receiving from the other.

3. Survivors can file and suspend before full retirement age.

A widow/widower is eligible to collect benefits on his or her work history and later switch to receiving survivor benefits; or vice versa, a widow/widower can collect survivor benefits and later switch to their own retirement benefits—even if the surviving spouse files before full retirement age.

4. Children are eligible to receive child benefits.

Unmarried children and grand children of retirees are eligible to receive child benefits through a retired parent’s Social Security benefits. To be eligible, a child must be unmarried, younger than age 18, 18-19 years old and a full-time student, or 18 or older and disabled. Within a family, children may receive up to one-half of the retired parent’s benefit (or 75% of the parent’s basic Social Security benefit if parent is deceased). There is a limited amount of money that can be paid out and is determined as part of every Social Security benefit computation. Click for more information about benefits for children.

5. Delaying a divorce can lead to more benefits.

Did you know that if you are divorced, but were married for at least 10 years, you could collect spousal benefits from Social Security? So let’s say you’ve been married for 9.5 years and you and your spouse are thinking about a divorce. You may want to delay your divorce (at least for another 6 months). Doing so would mean a larger payout for both you and your spouse. Of course, there are restrictions involved in when you can collect benefits. Your spouse must be age 62; however, you can receive reduced benefits if your spouse is younger.

For more information about Social Security benefits and/or to check current regulations, please contact your local Social Security Administration or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

About Presbyterian Senior Living

Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.

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