Social Security: 3 Ways to Beat the Average Benefit of $ 1,657 | Smart Change: Personal Finance
Social Security: 3 Ways to Beat the Average Benefit of $ 1,657 |  Smart Change: Personal Finance

Social Security: 3 Ways to Beat the Average Benefit of $ 1,657 | Smart Change: Personal Finance

(Katie Brockman)

As it becomes more challenging to save up for retirement, more retirees are leaning towards social security benefits to make ends meet. However, the average benefit amount is only around $ 1,657 a month, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), so your monthly checks may not go as far as you think when you retire.

Fortunately, you have a lot of control over how much you receive in unemployment benefits. If you are aiming to earn a benefit amount that is higher than average, you have a few options.

Image Source: Getty Images.

1. Work a little longer

Your unemployment benefit amount is largely based on your income and the number of years you have worked. You must work and pay social security tax for at least 10 years to be entitled to pension benefits. But to earn as much as possible, you have to work for at least 35 years.

SSA calculates your benefit amount by taking an average of your salary during the 35 highest earning years of your career. It then adjusts this figure for inflation and the result is your basic benefit amount.

Because most people see their pay rise as they get older, working more than 35 years can sometimes result in larger checks. SSA only includes your highest earning years in your benefit calculations, so by working a few more years when your salary is higher, you can earn a higher payout each month.

2. Delay services

Your basic benefit amount is how much you will receive by submitting your application full retirement age (OFF) – which is either age 66, 66 and a few months or 67, depending on the year you were born. However, by waiting until after that age to start making claims, you will receive a bonus amount each month. In fact, if your FRA is 67 years old and you wait for 70 years to submit an application, you will receive your full benefit amount plus 24% extra each month. In some cases, it can amount to hundreds of dollars a month.

Also keep in mind that your benefit amount is generally locked for life when you first submit your application (except for annual cost of living adjustments). This means that when you defer benefits, you will earn bigger checks each month for the rest of your life.

3. Claim all the benefits you are entitled to

Pension benefits are the most common type of social security, but there are others – including spouse benefits, divorce benefits and survivors’ benefits.

Spouse services are sometimes available to married couples. Divorce benefits are for those who are divorced and currently not married. And survivors’ benefits are generally reserved for widows and widowers (although sometimes other family members, such as parents and children, are also eligible).

Not everyone is eligible for these benefits and there are several requirements you must meet to qualify for any of these types of social security. But if you are eligible, you could potentially receive hundreds of dollars more per month.

Social benefits can go a long way in retirement, and you can collect more than you think. By taking the right steps to maximize your benefit amount, you can retire as prepared as possible.

The $ 18,984 social security bonus completely overlooks most retirees

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