Make the most of your benefits. You deserve it.
If you’re approaching your full retirement age, you may be wondering how you can receive the highest Social Security payment possible. It’s very common for some people to be eligible for more than one program at once, or be eligible for different programs at different points at life. Here are some easy ways you can make out your own Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits.
Social Security Disability
Social Security disability is a separate program from Social Security retirement, so you will not be able to supplement your retirement benefits with disability if you’ve suffered a serious injury or received a new diagnosis. You’re only eligible for Social Security disability until you hit your full retirement age, which is 66-67 for most people.
If you’re eligible for early retirement but too ill to work, you may be wondering if you should simply apply for early retirement or go through the lengthy process of applying for disability. You should always apply for disability first. If you’re approved for Social Security disability, your monthly benefits will be the equivalent of what you would have received had you reached full retirement age and worked till age 66. Because you receive early retirement at a reduced amount, you’ll always earn much more on disability. Once you hit your full retirement age, your disability benefits will “convert” to retirement and you’ll be able to work if you wish or if you’re able to.
You are eligible for survivors’ benefits if your spouse passes away, so long as you’ve been married for at least one year and you’re over age 60, or if you’re caring for a shared child under age 16. You can even receive survivors’ benefits on behalf of a deceased ex-spouse, so long as you’ve been married for 10 years and haven’t remarried.
A great way to maximize your own retirement benefits is to delay receiving retirement under your account and take survivors’ benefits instead. If you wait till age 70 to take retirement benefits, you’ll receive 130% of what your original Social Security entitlement is. Once you’ve maxed out your own retirement, you can simply file to receive benefits under your own record and not your deceased spouse.
Choosing Which Benefits to Receive
If you’re eligible for more than one program, it can be challenging to know which one to receive. You’ll have the choice of receiving whichever benefits will pay you the most per month. Always consider your own work history when choosing whether to switch beneficiary accounts. For example, if you never worked consistently throughout adulthood, it may always make more financial sense to receive Social Security under another record, as your monthly payments would likely be low.
You can apply for Social Security disability and Social Security retirement benefits online from the convenience of your own home. If you’re applying for Survivors’ benefits, you’ll need to apply in person at your local SSA office. Call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to get the process started.
Social Security Retirement: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/
Applying for Disability: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/how-to/apply-for-disability-benefits
Fellowship Senior Living: https://www.fellowshipseniorliving.org/about/
SSA Office Locations: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp