Timing your Social Security benefits claim

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By: NathanielCopeland
on 20th Nov,2015

One of the major problems people face while dealing with social security is that there is very little reliable data which seems to be out there.
Timing your Social Security benefits claim


One of the major problems people face while dealing with social security is that there is very little reliable data which seems to be out there. Moreover, unlike other Federal services, Social Security Administration rarely engages in doling out case specific advice. Most people are therefore left on their own to do their research and make their own decisions, without any expert insight.

Other than the most common problems, the SSA website answers very few specifics pertaining to social security claims. One of the more daunting questions that people rarely find the appropriate answer for pertains to the right time for claiming social security benefits. He is a short overview of the subject which might be of some initial help.

There is no one single right choice

Federal employees claim that there are many ways couples at different stages in their lives can claim social security benefits and every one of these options is situation specific. They also mention that timing is absolutely essential when it comes to deriving the maximum benefit out of social security. The most popular choice is to start with social security benefits at 70 years of age. That way your monthly payout is 76 percent higher than what you would get for claiming it at 62 years of age and 32 percent greater than the amount you would get for claiming at 66 years of age.

Death and divorce

It is quiet clear from the above stated facts that Social Security rewards you for betting on how long you would live. The older you get, the heavier benefits you will receive. Experts are divided sharply over this particular point of banking on mortality. One side claims that claiming early is the only sensible thing to do simply because death is an absolutely unpredictable dynamic. The bet of reaching 70 and then claiming benefits may not pay off and in any case, it will amount to nothing in such a scenario.

In case you have outlived your spouse and chosen to have not remarried after her death, you will be treated as a widow or widower as far as Social Security Administration is concerned. Most financial experts would advise you to claim your deceased spouse's benefits as soon as you are 60 and let your own benefits build up till you are 70 and then start claiming yours.

Divorce is another moot point while discussing the appropriate time to claim social security benefits. Experts agree on the point that you can claim a part of your ex-spouse's benefits check in case you have divorced after 10 years of marriage. In case you decide to file for divorce after 9 years and 11 months of marriage, you cannot legally claim a stake in your Ex's benefits check.

Very little is known about the arcane methods and formulas that the Social Security Administration uses to calculate benefits for individuals. The only details about this process that is conclusively known is that SSA uses 35 years average of your inflation adjusted wages to fuel their calculation. If you work for a period exceeding 35 years, the SSA will use the highest paying 35 years to set your benefits scale. In case you have worked for less than 35 years, the SSA will draw up the average figure by using zeros for the years you haven't worked.

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