This fall two Social Security “aggressive claiming strategies” were eliminated. This is the biggest change in Social Security in more than a decade.
These changes will affect when many couples should claim their retirement benefits. For people who turned 62 by Dec. 31, the major strategy is still available. For those older than 66 by the end of April, another strategy remains available until April 29.
While both strategies had been on the books for at least 15 years, they have gained attention recently.
Social Security is bigger and more complicated than most people realize. The benefits amount to five percent of gross national product and are the bedrock of most people’s retirement.
Coordinating Social Security benefits with the rest of your assets and plans is an important part of preparing for a comfortable retirement. Maximizing your benefits means taking into account your work plans, your partner, your tax strategy and the deployment of your other assets.
Many people make spur of the moment decisions on Social Security and pensions and may never realize why their hopes and dreams go awry. Failure to make the correct decisions can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
We talk to people frequently about these issues and are happy to help.
Social Security Website
Social Security retirement benefits is a more complex and important subject than most people realize.
In retirement, Social Security typically accounts for one-quarter to one-half of retirement income. The size of those benefits is dependent on your 35-year work and earnings record as well as at what age you begin taking your benefit check, whether you have a spouse (and their age and record), other dependents, your work plans, and other factors.
A good place to start looking for information is the Social Security Administration website, www.socialsecurity.gov. For those who like to get their information online, a useful page is, http://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/. This page tells you some of the many things you can use the Social Security website for.
The Social Security Administration also can be reached by telephone or in person at their local offices. Social Security also publishes pamphlets that give quick summaries of various features. “Update 2015” provides some of the current numbers.
Social Security serves tens of millions of people and needs many rules to get this done effectively. Learning as much as you can yourself and consulting a financial professional, accountant or lawyer if needed can help you get the best results for your individual situation.