Social Security effects virtually everyone. You’re either old enough to collect it or you’ve been paying for it your entire working life. But how much do you know about Social Security and how it effects you? Understanding Social Security becomes even more important as you approach retirement age – even if you don’t plan on retiring.
Social Security is complicated and people are often misinformed about certain aspects of it. So let’s take a closer look and see what important information we can find.
If you’re getting confused about who to trust regarding Social Security information, know that there is an official source. The United States Social Security Administration’s website can be found at www.ssa.gov.
Most people are immediately interested in the benefits- How much do I get? When can I collect? Can I collect Social Security and still work? For obvious reasons, these are usually the first three points of interest, so we’ll start there. You first become eligible to collect Social Security at age 62. If you choose to begin collecting at 62, the youngest possible age, you will receive a 25% or more penalty on the amount you otherwise would receive. Unless you are unemployed or in financial troubles, it is suggested that one wait until full retirement age to draw Social Security. Currently, the full benefit age is 66 for people born in 1943-1954, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
Yes, you can draw a Social Security check while working, but it may not behoove you to do so. Until the year you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be cut by $1 for every $2 you earn over a certain amount annually. For 2015, that amount is $15,720. This is another good reason to wait until full retirement age before drawing Social Security.
If you really like your job, are in good health and in sound financial condition, there are benefits to waiting. You get slight increases in payment for each year you wait, up until age 70. So if you are willing and able, you can maximize your returns by waiting. Just remember, age 70 is the oldest you should ever begin to draw benefits.
Another thing to remember regarding social security is Medicare. About three month’s before you turn 65 years old, the Social Security office will send you a package with Medicare information. To some, it may be a little confusing, so it is always a good idea to speak to someone who understands the complexities of Medicare. If you have any questions, you can bring your packet into a Viva Medicare Cafe in Birmingham, Leeds, Hoover, Montgomery or Mobile and speak to a specialist who can answer all your Medicare questions with easy to understand answers.
Again, Social Security and all that comes with it is a complicated topic. Familiarize yourself with www.ssa.gov to inform yourself as much as possible.