Are you thinking about retirement? Have you looked at your potential Social Security benefits and were not at all happy with the numbers? You need to know that there are ways to increase your benefits.
Many people have several options to increase them. Finding out what you can do and taking advantage of them will help you enjoy a more comfortable retirement.
Others who are already receiving benefits are finding out that their Social Security benefits are not enough. While these benefits are not supposed to be your sole source of income during retirement, taking time to obtain more benefits will be worth the time spent to get them.
Work at Least 35 Years
Your Social Security benefits are based on the 35 years you made the most money. If you have not worked for some of those years, a zero will be averaged into the total – making it much less. To get the most, make sure you have a sizable income for 35 years.
Get More Income
The amount you receive from Social Security depends on how much you make each year up to a designated amount. In 2019, the income cap that you can have added into the calculation is up to $132,900.
Wait Until You Are 70 to Claim Them
One way to get more benefits is to wait until you are 70 years old before getting your benefits. Although you can get the benefits once you reach 62, you will get a much smaller benefit for the rest of your life – not a good choice if you are still healthy and able to work.
If you need to start a little earlier than 70, you should wait at least until you reach full retirement age (FRA). People born after 1954 will reach their FRA at 66, and those born after 1960 will reach it when they are 67. For every year that you wait after your FRA, your benefits increase by 8%. Waiting just a couple of years will raise your benefits considerably.
Watch Out for Taxes
A lot of people these days continue to work after they have started collecting their Social Security benefits. You need to be aware that the government will tax as much as 50% of your benefits if you make $25,000 to $32,000 as an individual or from $32,000 to $44,000 as a joint filer. If you make more than these caps, as much as 85% of your benefits could be subject to taxes.
These taxes make it necessary to either make less than the amounts given above, or you will need to have some way to disperse the extra income in a way that will keep your taxes as low as possible.
Claim Spousal Benefits
As a spouse, you can also get Social Security benefits that are up to 50% of whichever spouse has the higher earnings. Divorcees can also claim spousal benefits if they were married for at least 10 years. Those benefits are based on your ex-spouse’s record of income.
If You Are a Veteran, Get Special Medicare Benefits
Some health insurance companies offer a discount for veterans on getting Medicare part B. The name of the program is Medicare Advantage. There is no extra cost to enroll, but this plan has many more benefits than standard Medicare part B. One benefit is that it will cost $30 less than its regular cost. This means you will get an additional $30 in your Social Security check each month.