Social Security Benefit Planning

It’s important to understand the quirks of the Social Security system if you are planning to retire soon. If you’re approaching 62 or older and have not started withdrawing your Social Security benefits, go online and establish an account with the Social Security Administration at http://www.ssa.gov/retirement/retirement.htm. This website will help you determine where you stand financially and allow you to make the decision of when to begin taking your benefits. Ultimately, when to withdraw determines how much money you will receive over time.

You can begin withdrawing your benefits as early as age 62, but this is a mistake if you can afford to live without the income, as your benefit will be reduced by 25%. If you start withdrawing early at age 62, your benefit amount will never increase, except with cost of living adjustments; if you have additional earned income, it can reduce your benefit even further. You can also start withdrawing at the full benefit age of 66, or wait until age 70. At every year past age 66, you will receive an 8% increase in your benefits. If you’re still working and don’t need the money, it’s typically better for the bigger wage earner of a married couple to wait to withdraw. Married couples and divorced couples have additional options that can be very beneficial. Don’t assume that you know the answers with Social Security; it is a very complex system with odd rules that can help you if you know about them in advance. We can help you determine when the best time is to withdraw for your unique situation. Don’t leave thousands of dollars on the table. Contact us today.

If you have questions about Social Security benefits, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits, consider W.G. Alexander & Associates – we offer a unique blend of asset protection, Elder Law and estate planning. You can also attend our free seminars, learn more through our website at www.wgalaw.com, or call us at (919) 256-7000.

Attorney Bill Alexander discusses these issues and more every Tuesday morning on W.G. Alexander & Associates’ radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on TalkRadio 850 WPTK (AM). Be sure to listen from 9:00-10:00 AM.