Social Security Simply Stated
If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, you’ve spent at least 10 years working and paying a portion of your income into the system. As you approach age 62, you are able to receive the return on your “investment” by claiming your benefit. However, the optimal solution for maximizing your benefits is not always obvious and straight-forward. Yeske Buie uses software to calculate every possible scenario for claiming your benefits so that we can have a conversation with you to determine what claiming decision best fits you and your family.
You are qualified to receive Social Security benefits in retirement if you have accumulated 40 “credits” during your work history. The minimum income required to earn one credit is about $1,200. At the time when you file for your benefits, the Social Security Administration takes the amount of income you earned for the 40 qualifying credits and uses that to calculate your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). You can request an online Social Security statement and see your earnings history and PIA here.
Claiming Benefits on Your Own Work Record
Waiting until your Full Retirement Age (FRA) ensures your monthly Social Security benefit will be equal to your full PIA amount. You may begin receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be permanently decreased by as much as 30%. Alternatively, you can defer receiving benefits until as late as age 70 in order to permanently increase your monthly benefit by the same margin.
Claiming Benefits on Your Spouse’s Work Record
If you are married, you are eligible to receive 50% of your Spouse’s PIA at your full retirement age. However, unlike claiming benefits on your own work record, there is no benefit to deferring the claim of your spousal benefits past full retirement age.
Applying to receive your spousal benefits prior to your Full Retirement Age permanently reduces the benefit, just as it does when making a claim on your own work record. It is also important to note that prior to reaching your Full Retirement Age, the Social Security office will review your benefit eligibility before supplementing it with a Spousal benefit if applicable.
Help Yeske Buie Help You
When you are nearing 62 or Full Retirement Age, Yeske Buie will request current copies of your Social Security Statement so that we may complete an in-depth analysis of your claiming strategies. You can request an electronic copy of your Social Security statement by creating an account on the Social Security website.