Will You Get All The Social Security You Should?

May 29, 2013 Comments Off on Will You Get All The Social Security You Should? by

There’s a good chance you won’t get all the Social Security you’re entitled to — if you’re not careful. People make a lot of mistakes because they don’t know the rules. Here’s some things that you may miss because you don’t know any better:

  • Filing just for Social Security retirement benefits when you should also be filing a claim for Social Security retirement benefits. Most people go on Social Security retirement benefits before full retirement age — currently 66 — and get reduced benefits. The reduction is 25% for those retiring at age 62. For many going on Social Security retirement benefits between age 62 and age 66 it wasn’t really something they wanted to do. They had to do it because they were too sick to continue working. They asked only for retirement benefits because they needed money right away and couldn’t wait for Social Security disability benefits. The thing is that you can do both! You can file claims both for Social Security retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits at the same time! They pay you the retirement benefits while they make a decision on the disability claim. If the disability claim is eventually approved, they pay you the full, unreduced benefit.
  • Missing a disabled child claim. Did you know that if your child becomes disabled before age 22 they can get benefits on your Social Security number for the rest of their life. If you have a disabled child and you’re in your 60s you’re probably very worried about what will happen to your child after you’re out of the picture. Getting the child a monthly check and Medicare may not completely solve the problem but it’s a huge step in the right direction.
  • Missing out on widows and widowers benefits. Both widows and widowers miss filing for these benefits but widowers never seem to think of these benefits. If you are not currently remarried, you can get benefits at age 60 on the account of your late husband or wife, assuming you were married more than nine months and assuming your late husband or wife worked long enough under Social Security. At age 50 you can get disability benefits on the account of your late husband or wife, assuming you were married long enough and your spouse worked long enough and assuming it  hasn’t been more than seven years since your spouse died or you last received mothers or fathers benefits on the account.
  • Missing out on benefits on the account of your former husband or wife. If you were married for ten years and you’re not married at this time you can get the same benefits as if you were still married.  If your former spouse has gone on Social Security benefits on their own account, you can get on benefits at age 62. You can also get the same widows or widowers benefits discussed above, although they call these benefits “surviving divorced spouse” benefits.
  • Filing for retirement benefits earlier than necessary. Up to age 70, if you wait to file your claim for Social Security retirement benefits your benefit goes up. It’s called the delayed retirement credit. The increase is about 8% a year. If you think your longevity may not be so good this wouldn’t be a good idea but if you expect to be around for quite some time after age 70, this is a great way of increasing your Social Security benefit. And you may be able to get some money from Social Security while you wait! See below.
  • Missing out on file and suspend. You can file a Social Security retirement claim and ask that Social Security not pay you anything until you turn 70. You may ask what’s the point? The point is that your spouse can take his or her benefits on your account now while your benefit grows and grows because you’re waiting to start collecting.
  • Missing out on claim now and claim more later. To do this, you don’t file on your own account. You just file for spouse’s benefits on the account of your spouse. You wait until you’re 70 to file a claim on your own account to get full advantage of the increase in the benefit on your own account.
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About the author

Charles Hall is the lead attorney for the Charles Hall Law Firm in Raleigh, NC. He has been practicing in the Social Security Disability law field since 1979, is published, and is ready to help new clients win their benefits in North Carolina.