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The fact that you can no longer get benefit estimates on Social Security’s website is simply due to their website’s limitations. Social Security stops providing online estimates to people who are receiving benefits, regardless of what type of benefits they’re collecting. Best, Larry

Is There Any Benefit For Me To Claim Spousal Benefits Now?

Hi Larry, I am past full retirement age. My wife will be at full retirement age later this year. Is there any benefit for me to receive spousal benefits now? Would I then convert to my own retirement benefits later? Thanks, Lyle

Hi Lyle, You can’t be paid spousal benefits at least until your spouse starts drawing their Social Security retirement or disability benefits. And even then, you’ll only be able to qualify for spousal benefits if your wife’s primary insurance amount is more than twice as much as your own PIA. Also, people born after 1/1/1954 are not allowed to claim only spousal benefits while waiting until later to claim their retirement benefits.

It sounds like you and your wife may want to consider using my company’s software Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner to ensure your household receives the highest lifetime benefits. Social Security calculators provided by other companies or non-profits may provide proper suggestions if they were built with extreme care. Best, Larry

Can My Wife Withdraw Her Claim For Her Own Benefits And File For Spousal Benefits Instead?

Investment Returns Vs Social Security Income Increases

Life After Work Zone crunched the numbers to see if claiming your benefit early and investing it would net you more money than if you had waited until the full retirement age or the age at which you receive the maximum benefit . It turns out that if you live into your 80s, this gamble does not pay off even if you invest aggressively and net 7% returns.

If you invest aggressively, you hit a break-even point at age 80 if you start collecting at 67 instead of age 62, and a break-even point at age 83 if you start collecting at age 70 instead of age 62. At those points, youll be stuck with a lower monthly payment than if you had waited until 67 or 70 to start collecting. And the ages you would break even are obviously lower if your investment return is less than 7%.

Given this math, its clear that this is a gamble that usually doesnt pay off, especially considering that about 1 out of every 3 65-year-olds today will live until at least age 90, and 1 out of 7 will live until at least age 95, according to the Social Security Administration.

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When It Might Still Make Sense To Claim Benefits Early

Although there isnt a financial benefit to claiming early , there are some reasons you may still want to claim your Social Security benefits ASAP:

  • You are suffering from a terminal or serious illness/have a shorter life expectancy.
  • You need to pay down debt.
  • Youre unable to work anymore.
  • Youre working part time and earning less than the limit to collect full benefits .
  • No one else is relying on your benefits.
  • You already have 35 high-earning years.
  • You expect your investments to grow at a rate higher than 8% per year.
  • You want to start a business.

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Who Is Eligible For Social Security Retirement Benefits

As mentioned, youll need to meet a few requirements to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Just like with Medicare, youll need to be a United States citizen or permanent resident. You might also need to have worked and earned credits. The amount of credits you need depends on your circumstances and the type of benefit youre applying for.

Youll need at least 40 credits in order to apply for retirement benefits. Since you can earn up to four credits a year, youll earn 40 credits after 10 years of work. This rule applies to anyone born after 1929.

The amount youll receive per month will depend on your income throughout your working life. You can use the calculator on the Social Security website to estimate your retirement benefits.

B You Can Stop Working And Start Receiving Your Retirement Benefits

When to Start Social Security Retirement Benefits (spreadsheet)

If you make the decision to stop working and start receiving retirement benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age. Also, your benefits will not increase because of additional earnings.

We calculate your benefits based on your highest 35 years of earnings, and if you stop working before you have attained 35 years of earnings or you have years with low earnings, this will affect your benefit calculation.

If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your benefit.

If you stop working and start receiving retirement benefits before age 65, you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65. If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Medicare benefits three months before you turn 65. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.

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How To Withdraw Your Application

  • Fill out Social Security Form SSA-521. Include the reason why you want to withdraw the application on the form. If you already have Medicare, your request must also clearly state whether your Medicare coverage should or should not be included in the withdrawal.
  • Send the completed form to your local Social Security office. We will notify you when there is a decision about your request and let you know the amount of benefits you need to repay.
  • You have 60 days to cancel an approved withdrawal. After that, you will lose any possible entitlement for the period covered by your original application.

    Documents You May Need To Provide

    We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

    • Birth certificate or other proof of birth
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
    • U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968
    • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for last year.
    • Final divorce decree, if applying as a divorced spouse and


    We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.

    Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.

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    Claim Benefits Early As You Work

    If you claim benefits before your full retirement age, and you continue working, Social Security may deduct your monthly benefits if your cumulative earnings exceed certain thresholds. The deduction will be applied until you reach your full retirement age when Social Security will recalculate your benefits to reflect the deduction. This could result in increased Social Security benefits.

    Working While Receiving Benefits

    Enrolling in Medicare With Social Security

    You may work after you start receiving benefits, which could mean a higher benefit for you in the future. We may withhold some of your benefits if you earn more than the yearly earnings limit. Sometimes people who retire in mid-year already have earned more than the annual earnings limit. However:

    • We have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year, usually the first year you begin receiving benefits. This means we cannot withhold benefits for any month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings.
    • After you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to take into account any months you did not receive benefits because your earnings were too high.

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    Withdrawing Both Social Security And Medicare Benefits

    There is additional information to consider if you also withdraw your Medicare coverage.

    • You must repay all Medicare Part A benefits paid on your behalf.
    • Your Medicare Part B coverage is treated as a voluntary termination. You will have Part B coverage for the month you requested the withdrawal and the next month.
    • If you file for benefits and Medicare again later, your Part B premiums may be higher due to your late enrollment.

    Withdrawing from Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B can also affect your coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Part D .

    • Your Medicare Advantage enrollment will automatically end if you withdraw from Medicare Part A, Part B, or both.
    • You will no longer be eligible for Medicare Part D if you withdraw from Medicare Part A and Part B. You will pay a penalty if you enroll in Medicare Part D in the future.
    • If you keep Part A or Part B, you are still eligible for Medicare Part D.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will handle your future bills for Part B premiums if you decide to keep that coverage. You can choose to pay the bill automatically from your bank or financial institution.

    You may need to have a personal interview if you want to terminate Part B. Learn more about terminating Medicare Part B.

    What Documents Do You Need To Apply For Retirement Benefits

    We request different documents depending on your circumstances. You can help by being ready to provide the information and documents listed below. You can also use our Checklist For The Online Medicare, Retirement, And Spouses Application to help you gather the information you need to apply.

    Documents we may ask for include:

    • Your Social Security card or a record of your number.
    • Your original birth certificate, a copy certified by the issuing agency, or other proof of your age.We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
    • If you were not born in the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept documents if they have expired. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
    • A copy of your U.S. military service paper if you served before 1968. A photocopy is acceptable.
    • A copy of your W-2 form and/or self-employment tax return for last year. A photocopy is acceptable.

    We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise.

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    When Can I See My Cost Of Living Adjustment For 2023

    As long as you set up your My Social Security account online by Nov. 15, you’ll be able to see how much your benefits will be increased, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Kilolo Kijakazi said. You’ll then log in to your My Social Security account in early December and check the message center to see your new 2023 benefit amount.

    If you don’t sign up for a My Social Security account, you’ll receive a COLA notice in the mail in December.

    Note that your higher Social Security payment will take effect in January 2023. If you’re a Supplemental Security Income beneficiary, your first increased payment will be on Dec. 30.

    Calculate The Best Time To Start Social Security

    Form SSA

    If you are confused about when to start, you can use the Social Security Explorer part of the NewRetirement Retirement Planner to compare your monthly income and maximum lifetime payout at different ages.

    Or, you might consider the following rules of thumb:

    • Take Early: The only people who should consider taking their Social Security early are those who absolutely need the money immediately, or those who do not expect to live for very long, due to illness
    • Take at Full Retirement Age: Should you have reason to believe that you will not live past the age of 80, then generally speaking you will maximize your social security benefits if you take them when you reach your Full Retirement Age.
    • Wait as Long as Possible: On the other hand, if you are confident that you will live past the age of 80 or 85, then most experts recommend that you defer your social security for as long as you can , so as to maximize the benefits you receive from it.
    • Other: If you have dependent children, the additional benefits you receive for them might make filing when you are younger worthwhile.

    It can also be a very good idea to have an overall retirement plan before you decide when to start your Social Security benefits. The NewRetirement Retirement Planner can help you assess all of your sources of retirement income and whether or not you will have enough to cover your expenses. This tool was recently named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investors .

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    Who Is Eligible For Medicare

    Most people enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. You can enroll as early as three months before your 65th birthday or as late as three months after. Youll need to be a United States citizen or have been a permanent legal resident for at least five years. In order to get full coverage, you or your spouse need to meet a work requirement. Meeting the work requirement verifies that youve paid into the system.

    Social Security Math: Are There Advantages To Claiming Asap

    Although you can start to collect Social Security at age 62, your benefits will increase every year you choose to delay claiming them up until age 70. But are there potential advantages to claiming early, particularly if you invest your Social Security income?

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    How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated

    Learn how Social Security benefits are calculated, and the important factors that could increase or decrease your monthly benefits.

    If you paid Social Security taxes during your working years, you may be eligible to receive at least one form of Social Security benefits. However, due to the many factors that Social Security considers to calculate benefits, it can be difficult to estimate the benefits you will receive in retirement.

    When calculating Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration considers your highest 35 years of earnings and adjusts these earnings for inflation to calculate your average indexed monthly earnings . SSA then takes your AIME and uses it to determine your primary insurance amount , which is your full retirement benefit at the full retirement age.

    Who Is Eligible For Ssdi

    How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

    The rules are different when youre applying for SSDI. Youll need 40 work credits if youre applying at age 62 or older.

    To qualify for SSDI, you must:

    • be unable to work because of a medical condition that will last at least 12 months, or is terminal
    • not currently have a partial or short-term disability
    • meet SSAs definition of a disability
    • be younger than full retirement age

    You must be able to prove you meet these criteria, and this process can be difficult. Once you qualify for SSDI, the amount of disability youll receive may be based on your age and the amount of time youve worked and paid into Social Security.

    This table explains what benefits are offered based on your age and number of years worked:

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    Not Filing For Your Benefit

    Intuitively, it can make sense that a person who has never worked should not even bother filing for Social Security benefits. After all, if you havent paid any Social Security tax into the system from your earnings, there shouldnt be any benefit waiting for you after you reach retirement age. But if youre married and at least age 62 or if you care for a child 16 or younger who is entitled to benefits based on your spouses record then you can file for your own spousal benefits and those benefits may be quite significant. If you file at your full retirement age which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later your spousal benefit can be as much as 50% of your spouses benefit. Best of all, the Social Security Administration will always pay you the higher benefit to which youre entitled, whether its based on your own work record or that of your spouse, so even if youve never worked or paid into the Social Security system, if youre married, it still pays to file for benefits.

    What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit You Can Get

    The highest Social Security benefit you can receive varies based on your age when you claim benefits. Here is the highest payout you can receive at various ages:

    $2,364 if you file at the age of 62.

    $3,345 if you file at full retirement age

    $4,194 if you file at age 70.

    If your earnings equal or exceed Social Security’s maximum taxable income, you are eligible for a maximum benefit. The maximum taxable income is the amount of earnings on which you pay Social Security taxes for at least 35 years of your career. In 2022, the maximum taxable income is $147,000, and it will increase to $160,200 in 2023. Annual adjustments are made based on changes in national wage levels.


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