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Social Security For Married Couples

Do you know that for most married couples who are of retirement age, Social Security may be their largest single source of income? This makes Social Security a valuable asset and the benefits should not be under appreciated in any way.

Everyone should start planning for their retirement years as early as possible. Married couples can create a solid retirement portfolio with streams of income from pensions, 401k funds, stocks and bonds and most importantly, Social Security.

Social Security should be managed as an investment and any decision made concerning it should be given a lot of thought. Married couples have a lot to gain, or lose, when planning for their senior years around their retirement incomes.

There are some important facts that you should know about Social Security and how it may affect you if you are a married couple before you file for benefits.

  • Do you know that as a married couple, your benefit amounts are determined by your lifetime earnings separately? This means that your monthly benefits will be determined by the amount you earned individually and not lumped together. Therefore, each spouse will receive a benefit payment based on his or her separate lifetime earnings.
  • Do you know that if you did not earn enough credits to qualify for retirement benefits from Social Security, you may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse? In some cases, it may be wise to look into switching between receiving benefits based on your own work record and receiving spousal benefits.
  • Do you know that applying for benefits between the age of 62 and full retirement age can make a big difference in the amount you receive each month in payments? If you start receiving benefits at 62, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach full retirement age. It will also depend on the year you were born. As a married couple, it may be a good idea for the spouse with the higher amount of benefits to put off receiving his or her benefits until full retirement age and delaying your benefits may result in an increased payout for the longer of your, or your spouse’s, lifetimes due to survivor benefits.
  • Do you know that Social Security has rules that dictate that when you apply before full retirement age, if you apply on your own work record or for spouses' benefits, you will be given whichever is higher? This is known as "deemed filing" which means that you will be "deemed" to be filing for the higher benefit you are entitled to.

Before applying for Social Security benefits, take a good look at everything that may have an impact on your long term financial goals. This includes your current and projected financial health, your mental and physical health, and it may be a good idea to look at your family's history to help determine life expectancy.

Keep in mind that your spouse may outlive you for many years, or vice versa, so plan well today and reap the benefits tomorrow.

Contact your local Social Security Administration Office for further information on filing for Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

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