Social Security Basics
This is the first in a series of three articles designed to help most people decide when to begin Social Security benefits.
To simplify the discussion, we made several assumptions that would exclude some people. For example, we assume your Social Security benefits would not be affected by the earnings test, which is explained at the end of this article. We further assume you do not have children who would receive Social Security benefits based on your earnings record and you do not qualify for disability benefits. We further assume neither you nor your spouse receives a pension from work not covered by Social Security (e.g., public-school teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other government employees).
There are many complex rules governing Social Security benefits that cannot be completely covered even in a series of three articles. However, we address four key points that will help you make an informed decision about when to claim benefits.
The strategies discussed in this article, and in the forthcoming articles about claiming strategies as a single person and as a married couple, are based on the current promises of the Social Security system. Obviously, changes to this system need to be made. However, we join others who believe these changes will likely have little, if any, impact on current retirees and those approximately 55 or over. The U.S. Congress, however, can change benefit formulas at its discretion.
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William Meyer is founder and CEO of Social Security Solutions Inc., a service that provides personalized recommendations as to when to claim Social Security benefits.