Figuring out when to apply for Social Security benefits and what benefits you’ll be eligible for can be surprisingly complicated. The best strategy for maximizing your benefits depends on factors such as your marital status, age, earnings, and financial needs. The Balance recommends several Social Security calculators, including a free one from AARP, that can help you create a personalized claiming strategy.
In addition, because the amount of your payments depends on your earnings history and the age you sign up for benefits, a recent US News & World Report article suggests 10 ways to increase your Social Security benefit:
- Work for at least 35 years.
- Earn more (for example, by taking on a side job)
- Work until your full retirement age.
- Delay claiming until age 70.
- Claim spousal payments.
- Include family; if you have dependent children up to age 19, you may be able to secure additional payments for them.
- Don’t earn too much in retirement.
- Minimize Social Security taxes.
- Maximize survivor’s benefits.
- Make sure your work counts by keeping track of what you’re paying into the system before it’s time to retire.
For more on this topic, be sure to attend Maximizing Social Security Benefits on Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Nichols Library Community Room. Mike Heatwole, certified financial planner and founder of the Dala Group, will discuss the various filing strategies available and how these strategies can provide monthly lifetime social security benefits higher than the standard filing options typically selected. Topics will include social security earned income limits and the taxation of social security benefits.