When Should I Claim My SSA (Social Security Administration) Benefits?
The decision of when to claim your Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement benefits is one that you must make based on personal considerations. Some factors you may consider are:
- Your genetic history, as your life expectancy, could affect when you begin collecting retirement benefits
- Factors related to your spouse, like marriage, can affect how you view SSA benefits
- The benefits of staggering your retirement benefits as a married couple strategically
- Whether you are able and willing to continue working longer, as this could affect how much you must rely on SSA benefits to living a quality life
Every individual and couple has unique considerations to weigh with respect to retirement benefits. Knowing how to evaluate when to claim SSA benefits could be the key to realizing the retirement you have dreamed of.
Understanding Eligibility for SSA Benefits
Before determining when you will claim your SSA benefits, you may want to know your options. The Social Security Administration explains that you may begin collecting your SSA retirement benefits at age 62 at the earliest and age 70 at the latest.
The SSA also notes that not every person age 62 and older is eligible to collect SSA retirement benefits, as you must meet specific qualifications. You must earn a certain number of Social Security “credits” (typically 40) to be eligible for retirement benefits, and you accrue those credits by paying a certain amount of taxes into Social Security over the years of your professional life.
The first step that your retirement or wealth management advisor may take is to determine whether you are eligible to receive SSA benefits. If you are, then they can further discuss a strategy for claiming your benefits.
Determining When to Claim Your SSA Benefits
The Social Security Administration discusses several points for you and your wealth management advisor to consider when claiming SSA benefits. Some of the questions it poses include:
- Whether you find it more desirable to receive smaller monthly payments for a longer period or larger payments for a shorter period
- What your family’s history is with respect to health and longevity
- What your current financial needs are
- Whether you are currently working, plan to resume working, or are unable or unwilling to work ever again
- What your future financial obligations are
- What your other sources of income will be during retirement, as Social Security benefits will not be, in an ideal situation, your only source of retirement income
A wealth management advisor can break down these and other relevant questions on an individualized basis. Each consideration is worth exploring in detail, and this may only be possible if an advisor well-versed in the process of claiming SSA benefits can review your personal circumstances.
A Wealth Management Advisor Can Help
Social Security retirement benefits are a complex matter, and it can be vital that you fully understand and take advantage of the nuances of claiming SSA benefits. Unless you have dedicated your professional life to understanding the ins and outs of SSA benefits, hiring a wealth management professional could be immensely helpful.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explains that:
- 97% of eligible Americans collect Social Security retirement benefits
- Social Security benefits are progressive, meaning that the compensation you receive may depend on your lifetime earnings
- Social Security benefits may be modest, but they may also be a critical component of your retirement planning
Claiming your SSA benefits at the wrong time (either too early or too late) could have several consequences, and this may lead to you having too little retirement benefits at an age where you are no longer able to work, or it could cause you to leave earned benefits on the table.
Sitting down with a wealth management professional could help you devise a strategic approach to claiming SSA benefits. Such an advisor may:
- Speak with you about strategies specific to married couples, which may include claiming benefits at different periods to ensure each partner receives maximum financial protection in the event of the other partner’s death
- Go over your financials with you, explaining the implications of your earnings in terms of SSA benefits
- Work to understand what goals you have for retirement and how your goals should affect when you claim SSA benefits
Having the guidance of an advisor familiar with SSA benefits could be a great relief to you and your loved one.
Call Hosler Wealth Management, LLC, Today
Retirement can be a source of uncertainty, but it does not have to be. Proper planning and a strategic approach could give you greater peace of mind and may help you maximize your SSA benefits.
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