How To Avoid Missing Out on the Highest Possible Social Security Benefits

I’ve been in the working pool for decades now, and I’ve always received a letter from the Social Security Administration containing my Social Security Statement.  It shows how much I’ve contributed and how much, based on that contribution amount, I’ll get when I retire at various ages.  Yes, your Social Security retirement age makes a huge difference in how much you’ll get each month.  It’s always a laugh because the retirement benefit amount is so small (of course, since it’s based on how much you’ve contributed to Social Security up to now, but not any future payments).  I certainly know what current retirees are complaining about when they say Social Security isn’t enough to live on!

But if you’re closer to retirement, the Social Security Statement may have more immediate relevance for you.  You may only have a few more years left of contributing to the Social Security tax coffers, so your benefits statement is going to be more accurate.  You’ll see approximately what you will get in your check each month, just add a bit for the future SSA contributions you’ll be making until you retire.

Your Social Security Retirement Age

What you can also see from your  statement is different amounts based on different retirement ages.  If you retire at the earliest possible moment (62 years old) you’ll get he lowest possible Social Security benefit check.  If you wait until the maximum retirement age for you (ranges from 65 to 67) then you get maximum benefits.  Plan your Social Security retirement age very carefully.  Here’s what you need to know.

Maximum Retirement Age

The maximum retirement age depends on the year you were born.  The SSA also calls this age the Full Retirement Age.  There’s a retirement age chart on the Social Security website here.  You get a slight reduction in benefits when you retire before your maximum retirement age.  Retiring a year before that point will reduce your benefit by about 6.7% according to the SSA website.  Retiring at age 62 reduces your benefit by 30%!

Your Social Security Retirement Age and Spousal Benefits

Want to retire early and start getting spousal benefits?  You’ll also see a reduction in your check if you retire before your full retirement age.

Retire at age 62 and you can kiss goodby a whopping 67.5% of your spousal benefits!!!!!!

The amount of reduction is 50% of your spouse’s benefit if you retire at the full social security retirement age.  What were you thinking- you could get it all?  Nope, spousal benefits are half of what the actual beneficiary would have gotten.

Delay Your Social Security Retirement Age

You can even delay your Social Security retirement age beyond the age of your full retirement age (66 or 67).  Delay and get more benefits!  But make sure you still sign up for Medicare at age 65.  Do this on the Social Security website.

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