Social Security Benefits Planner: Retirement

Retirement Benefits

All about Retirement Benefits – The most famous Social Security benefits are the retirement benefits; 95 percent of the working population of the U.S receives or will receive them.

Anyone, regardless of income, can apply for retirement benefits. And you can start planning your retirement right now.

The Social Security Administration provides you with a tool to help you figure out when you can retire and how much you will receive.

The Social Security Benefits Planner: Retirement is a complete guide with the answers for your questions.


Factors that may affect your retirement benefits

If you receive other benefits, your retirement benefits might be affected.

If you receive any sort of income, such as self-employment, farm work, railroad earnings or work outside of the country, your benefits will be affected.

There is a limit to the amount the government can take as taxes from you, and therefore, to the amount of benefits you can receive.

This limit is called “Maximum Taxable Earnings” and the amount changes every year; the limit was $128,400 in 2018.

If you receive a pension based on your earnings that is not covered by Social Security your benefits will be affected.

In this situation, the Windfall Elimination Provision is applied. That means that the basic formula for calculating your retirement benefits will be changed.

The amount by which your salary is changed depends on how much you earned and how much time you received this pension for.

When should you apply?

It is advised that you start your application for retirement benefits four months before you plan to start receiving them.

You can only receive your full retirement benefits once you reach your full retirement age, which is 65 if you were born before 1937.

If you were born after 1937 your retirement age is higher than 65. To discover your retirement age visit the retirement age chart.

Even if you do not plan to apply for benefits at 65, you should apply for Medicare benefits at that age.

You can receive retirement benefits as early as 62, and if you want you can keep working while receiving benefits.

There is a limit to the amount you can earn and keep receiving benefits if you decide to work before you reach your full retirement age.

If you keep working after you reach your full retirement age, your benefits will not be affected.

What documents must you provide?

When you apply for your retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration will need the following:

  • Your Social Security Number;
  • Your birth certificate;
  • W-2 forms or self employment tax return;
  • The name of your bank and the number of your account;
  • Proof of U.S citizenship.

In case you served in the military you will have to provide your military discharge.

In case your spouse or/and child are currently receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to bring their:

  • Birth Certificate;
  • Social Security Number.

Important to note, you need to bring original documents or copies certified by their issuing agency.

What should you remember to do after you retire?

You should always notify the Social Security Administration in case you:

  • Move;
  • Marry or divorce;
  • Change your name;
  • Discover that your estimated earnings will change;
  • Change your bank accounts;
  • Adopt a child;
  • Are a non-citizen and your status changes;
  • Start getting a pension from work not covered by Social Security;
  • Are convicted of a criminal offense.


Apply For Retirement Benefits Or Medicare

You can apply for retirement or Medicare benefits online at the Social Security Administration official website.

Also, you can apply for retirement or Medicare benefits by phone, call 1-800-772-1213.

In case you are deaf call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-325-0778.

You can also apply in person, for that visit your local Social Security office. To discover your nearest Social security office, visit this page.

If you currently outside of the U.S territory you can contact the nearest U.S embassy or consulate.

Remember, you must be at least 61 years and 9 months old to apply for retirement benefits.

Applying for Medicare Only

You can apply for Medicare if you are within 3 months of becoming 65 years old.

Important to note, if you are planning to apply for Medicare and you are currently enrolled in health insurance services, your benefits may be affected.

The same is true if you are enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Important to note, the Medicare program helps with the costs of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses.

If you pay for a monthly premium you can enroll for part B of Medicare insurance, which expands the services the free Medicare offers.

Benefits For Your Family

When you start to receive Social Security Benefits your family may also be eligible to receive benefits on your behalf.

Both your spouse and your child can qualify. If they qualify they can receive  benefits of up to half of your retirement benefits.

These payments will not decrease your own retirement benefits. In fact, for this reason, sometimes, retiring earlier can be more advantageous.

Benefits For Your Spouse

Even in case your spouse never worked under Social Security, they are eligible to receive benefits if they are at least 62 years old.

If your spouse already receives some benefits, they can receive benefits on your behalf as well.

However, if your spouse also receives a pension from work that is not covered by Social Security, that will affect the amount they can receive on your behalf.

Your spouse will need to to provide some documents to apply for benefits on your behalf, which are the same documents that are required to apply for retirement benefits.

Benefits for your children

To receive benefits on your behalf your child needs to be under 18 and unmarried.

In case they are a full time student they can receive benefits until they reach the age of 19.

In addition, children over 18 are also eligible if they suffer from a disability that started before the age of 22.

However, if your child is currently working, their work may affect the benefits they receive on your behalf.

So, if you learn more about Social Security, click here.

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