Social Security: Answers to your questions about benefits

The Social Security column today deals with questions about increasing benefits after filing early, qualifying for survivor's benefits, and getting SSA to process a suspension request.

Ask LarryEconomic Security Planning, Inc.
It's no secret that many Americans are struggling financially. According to a recent report from the Federal Reserve, nearly half of adults say they couldn't cover an unexpected $400 expense.

Today's Social Security column by Larry Kotlikoff addresses questions about increasing benefit rates after filing early, when a person can qualify for survivor's benefits, and getting SSA to process a suspension request. Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc. He is an expert on Social Security and has written extensively on the topic. In today's column, Kotlikoff addresses three important questions that will be helpful for readers who are trying to maximize their benefits.

The Social Security program is one of the most important safety nets for Americans, and it's crucial that people have the information they need to make the most of it. If you have questions about Social Security, I encourage you to ask Larry about it. He's a great resource and can help you maximize your benefits.

As someone who is nearing retirement, you may be wondering if there's anything you can do to increase your Social Security retirement benefit rate.

If you're receiving a small retirement benefit because you filed at age 62, there may be ways to increase your payments. Talk to a financial advisor to see if you can make any changes to your benefits.

Hi Owen, If you've been receiving benefits for less than roughly a year, you could potentially withdraw your application and then reapply for benefits later at a higher monthly rate. However, you'd then be required to repay all of the benefits you've received so far. This could be a good option for you if you're confident that you'll be able to earn more money in the future. However, you should weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

There are three ways to increase your monthly Social Security retirement benefit rate. Two of those would involve returning to work. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of Social Security covered wage-indexed earnings, so if you work and replace one or more of those years with higher earnings years then your benefit rate would go up.

I believe that if you return to work prior to your full retirement age, your benefit rate should increase to reflect the fact that your earnings prevented you from receiving some of your pre-FRA benefits. This would provide a much-needed incentive for people to return to work, and would help ensure that people are able to receive the full benefits they are entitled to.

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to suspend your benefits between FRA and age 70. One is that you could earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs) by doing so. DRCs raise your monthly benefit rate by 2/3rds of 1% for each month that your benefits are suspended. Another thing to consider is your personal financial situation and whether or not you need the benefits at that time.

If you are married, you may be eligible for spousal or survivor benefits from your spouse's Social Security. You may want to consider using a software program like Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner to ensure that your household receives the highest lifetime benefits. Other Social Security calculators may also provide proper suggestions if they are built with extreme care.

There are many different types of survivor benefits available from the government, and it can be confusing to try to figure out which benefits you may be eligible for.

Kim, you qualify for survivor benefits now, and should apply as soon as possible.

I'm sorry for your loss, Kim. You're already old enough to claim reduced widow's benefits, but whether or not you should is another matter. Until you reach full retirement age (FRA), there is a limit on how much you can earn and still be paid benefits. Full retirement age is a key factor in deciding whether to claim benefits now or wait.

There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not to claim Social Security survivor benefits. One key factor is your employment status and earnings. If you are still working, your earnings may affect how much you are eligible to receive in benefits. Another key factor is whether or not you are eligible for benefits on your own account. If you are, your own benefit amount may be reduced if you claim survivor benefits. Ultimately, it is important to weigh all of these factors carefully to make the best decision for your individual situation.

If your husband collected reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to his death, that could alter your optimal strategy. Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit rate first and then switch to the higher benefit rate when it reaches its highest potential rate. However, if your husband collected reduced benefits prior to his death, that could change things. It's best to speak with a financial advisor to determine the best course of action.

It can be difficult to get Social Security to process a voluntary suspension request, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process: First, make sure that you have all of the required documentation.

If your brother begins receiving Social Security benefits at age 63, he can suspend those benefits at any time between ages 66 and 70 in order to receive delayed retirement credits. However, it can be difficult to convince the Social Security Administration to allow a suspension, so it may be necessary to talk to a manager or higher-up.

It's great to know that there is a way for your brother to suspend his benefits if he needs to. It's important to make sure that he contacts the Social Security office in advance so that his request can be processed in a timely manner.

It is clear that there are many poorly trained Social Security employees. Submitting a request for voluntary suspension in writing should at least leave a paper trail. This will help to ensure that the request is properly processed.