Friday, April 11, 2014

Creative Strategies to Collect More Social Security Income (Part 2 of 2)

By Olivia Sandham
 
Continuing from last week’s post, this week we will finish our discussion on “Creative Strategies to Collect More Social Security Income”.  Before jumping into Part 2 of 2, we recommend revisiting last week’s post for an overview of the terms FRA and PIA.
 
Besides 1) Waiting as long as possible to claim Social Security (SS) and 2) Claiming SS benefits correctly the first time, here are a few other creative strategies you could implement to collect more SS income:
 
3)  Harness the power of the little-known Spousal Income Benefit:  Once one spouse is eligible to receive SS benefits, the other spouse may be eligible to get up to 50% of those benefits as well, until claiming his or her own SS benefits.  This option is also available to divorcees as well.
  • The Spousal Income Benefit is available to the second partner regardless of whether the first partner is actually collecting benefits or has decided to file and suspend.
  • The Spousal Income Benefit will be available to the second partner once he or she reaches the age of 62, but will be available at a reduced/pro-rated amount until he or she reaches FRA.  At FRA, the second partner can receive 50% of the first partner’s PIA.
  • It is important to note, once the second partner starts collecting the Spousal Benefit Income, the amount he or she claims is the amount of Spousal Benefit that will be received for the rest of his or her lifetime, until claiming his or her own SS benefits.  Once claiming his or her own SS benefits, the second partner will receive the higher benefit of the two.
4) Plan for the Surviving Partner’s Income Benefit:  Widows or widowers may be entitled to receive a portion of their deceased partner’s SS benefits, which may be increased by using the previous strategies.  Click here to see how much surviving family members would receive.  As a side note, the Social Security Administration should be notified as soon as possible when any family member passes away, because there are several other ways that Social Security can help you when a family member dies.
 
5) Compute your optimal benefit amount:  Rather than picking one or two strategies to increase your SS benefits, finding the right combination of all the strategies discussed for your situation can be advantageous in figuring out how to collect more SS income.  Since Social Security rules are very intricate and every situation for every family is different, meeting with a Social Security specialist would be your best way to use this strategy.
 
This post is for information purposes only. It is not intended for use in determining when or how to claim Social Security benefits, as benefits and strategies vary based on individual circumstances. Our firm is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration. For more information or for help determining a specific strategy for your own situation, please contact our office at (816) 233-4100, or contact the Social Security Administration directly by visiting www.ssa.gov.

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