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Other Facts You Should Know About
Social Security

1. Social Security disability benefits do not continue past normal retirement age. Retirement benefits must then be applied for and replace disability benefits. No double dipping allowed.

2. There is a limit to the amount of benefits that can be paid on each Social Security record called the Maximum Family Benefit, generally around 150 to 180 percent of the worker's benefit. If this limit is exceeded, the family benefits are reduced.

3. Ex-spouses, widows and divorced widows may all be eligible for benefits on a spouse's record. Provided the requirements are met, they may even all be collecting on the same worker's record. This is extremely important information to understand. I have several clients whose spouses died after they were divorced. Some found, to their delight, that they were entitled to Social Security income derived from the deceased ex-spouse. Be sure to check this out completely.

4. There are two Social Security trust funds: one used to finance retirement and survivor's benefits and the other used to finance the disability program. Money not used to pay current benefits is invested only in U. S. Government Treasury bonds. Although this type of financial security allows for maximum safety, it provides a less than stellar return in the form of interest.

5. Social Security benefits do not automatically start coming in the mail the first day of Normal Retirement Age. They must be applied for! The easiest way is to set up an appointment with the local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213.

6. To get an official statement of all the earnings recorded in your Social Security account, an estimate of your current disability and death benefits, and an estimate of future retirement benefits, fill out for #7004 Request for Earnings & Benefit Estimate Statement.

7. If you do not find and correct errors in your Social Security record within 3 years, they become part of your permanent record. Therefore, you might want to check on them every 3 years or so. If you find any errors, submit for 7008.

8. You can work during retirement, but if you earn too much it will reduce the size of the benefits you are receiving from age 62 up to age 65. The limits on such earnings are currently $11,280. Benefits are reduced by $1 for every $2 that you earn over this amount. You can work after age 65 as much as you want with benefits unreduced, although they may become taxable if you earn too much.

9. You can increase the size of your retirement benefit by delaying collecting and remaining on the job past full retirement age. this higher benefit comes from extra earnings toward your account and a credit awarded for this patience, ranging from 3% to 8% of your benefit depending on your date of birth.

An excerpt from the book, A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Work...I Retired by Steve Kiefer.

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