Hello and welcome back for Part 2 of our 2 part blog series on the best tips for increasing your Social Security payments. In Part 1 we went over quite a few different tips that you can use to make sure that your Social Security check will be as high as possible and that you get the most benefit out of all those years you put in the workforce. Part 2 is more of the same and should help you to maximize your checks and minimize any chance that Uncle Sam takes too much. Enjoy.
Just like practically any income that you’ll make as an American today, your Social Security checks are taxable if you make too much income during your retirement years. For example if you’re an individual and you make between $25,000 and $34,000 a year in adjusted gross income, you will be subject to paying taxes on up to 50% of your Social Security benefits. (For couples the number is $32,000-$44,000.) If you make over $34,000 as an individual or, as a couple, $44,000, up to 85% of your check may become taxable. The point here is to make sure that, if you want to pay less taxes on your Social Security checks, you don’t earn too much during your retirement years. Another option is to take the savings from social security and put them into a tax free savings account. Let your social security earnings grow tax free, and you will have the ability to withdraw and deposit as you please.
Since widows and widowers are eligible for survivor benefits, waiting until you reach the age of 70 to start collecting your Social Security checks if you are the higher earner is a good idea. Doing this will help you to maximize any benefits that you are spouse will receive from Social Security after you pass on.
If you’d like to save on trips to the bank and avoid processing fees, signing up for direct deposit is your best bet. Once you do your Social Security payments will be deposited directly into your bank account or your credit union account. Keep in mind that Social Security no longer sends out paper checks through the mail. Instead, direct deposit is now needed or you can also get a Direct Express Debit MasterCard and have your funds loaded onto that every month.
On May 1 of 2013 the Social Security Administration started offering online statements to people wanting to keep track of their Social Security statement. Doing just that is quite important, especially if you want to make sure that the Social Security taxes you paid into the program during your working life were recorded correctly. If you have your current tax information handy you can surf to the Social Security website, find your online statement and compare the two, making sure that there aren’t any errors or omissions. This is one of the best ways to make sure that you get complete credit for all of the taxes you paid into Social Security while you were working.
If you are part of a married couple who both worked and both of you have reached your full retirement age, it’s possible that you will be able to claim spousal benefits first and then, once you reach 70, switch back to your own record and increase the amount of your checks. For couples who wish to do this and wait until at least one of them reaches 70, it’s the best way to get some Social Security benefits between the time they turn 66 and then 70 years old while still maximizing the benefits of at one.
In the last 2 to 3 decades people have been waiting longer and longer to start a family and, if you find that you’re claiming Social Security while you still have dependent children living at home, it’s possible that you may be able to receive additional payments for those children. In order to do this your dependent child must be 19 years of age or younger and unmarried or, and lieu of those two, somehow disabled. Any biological children that you have, stepchildren or adopted children who fits that criteria will be qualified to get monthly payments of up to one half of whatever your full retirement benefits are (with a number of limits depending on the situation).
Lastly, even if you didn’t make it to retirement as a married person because of a divorce, if you were married for 10 years or more you can actually claim some Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouses work record. This certainly may not enamor you to them but hey, you’re already divorced so what the heck.
We hope that this 2 Part series was not only informative but give you some valuable information and insight into how to maximize the amount of money that you get through Social Security. If you have any questions about planning for your retirement or financial planning in general, please let us know and we’ll get back to you with advice, answers and solutions.