I admit, as a conservative voter, I am highly skeptical as to whether or not social security will be around by the time I hit retirement age. However, as I was recently looking into some benefit questions for a client of mine, I happened upon four social security benefits that I didn’t know I was entitled to. I think this is probably because the social security administration keeps a tight lid on most benefit options, especially on a case by case specific basis. But, chances are, if I didn’t know I had these coming, you probably didn’t either.
#1: If I Wait Longer, I Get Paid Better
If I work until I am 70 years old, and wait to draw my social security benefits until then, I will earn 76 percent more each month than what I would have if I started taking out benefits at age 62. I don’t know about you, but 76 percent is a pretty big number. And, even if I don’t take these benefits, in the event that I pass from this world to the next before then, I know that someone will still reap their rewards.
#2: I am Entitled to My Ex-Spouses Benefits
I was married for 17 years. If I don’t opt to remarry, I am entitled to my ex-spouses benefits for life. In fact, this is true of anyone who made it past the 10 year marriage mark. Of course, should I ever decide to remarry, the rules of the game change, but even if he remarries, I still get some of the benefits.
#3: Widow Benefits
Once again, the rules on this one shocked me. If I don’t remarry, I am entitled to my ex-husband’s benefits in the event he expires before I do. And, just like the normal benefits, I am entitled to these even if he chooses to remarry. Just like the normal benefit, however, I am not entitled to these in the event that I get married again.
#4: I am In Control of My Social Security Payment
For the longest time, I was under the impression that the Social Security administration paid out benefits based on a 35 year average of my earnings, and I was partially correct. What I found out, after having done some research was that my benefit is calculated based on my highest average over 35 years, putting me in the driver’s seat when it comes to how much I can make upon retirement.
Although, my goal is still to retire early (and on my own dime), it’s nice to know that the money I have pumped into Social Security throughout my working life hasn’t been for naught, or, for that matter, that my failed marriage wasn’t either.
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