As we all know what statistics confirm, the American population is aging, people in general are living longer than past generations did, and in many cases women outlive men.
For some people – particularly for those with diseases that make a relatively early death likely – election to start receiving their Social Security retirement benefits as early as possible may be the best choice. However, for many, starting to receive their Social Security retirements later can result in a large increase in the total amount of benefits received over the rest of their lives. Electing to receive benefits too early can be a huge mistake.
What most of us are unaware that married people have the option to receive Social Security benefits under their own work record, their spouse’s work record, or, in some circumstances, both their own and their spouse’s work record. If the choices made are not optimal, the result can be less than maximum monthly benefits for two, three or even four decades – a very long time.
The annual statement entitled "Your Social Security Statement" listed data for the worker's benefits upon retirement or disability, and projected benefit data for the worker's survivors. This statement also contains the following one-line comment in a list of potential benefits: "Family - If you get retirement or disability benefits, your spouse or children may also qualify for benefits."
Although this line did not provide any data, the last page of the statement explained this point as: "Family – If you're eligible for disability or retirement benefits, your current or divorced spouse, minor children or adult children disabled before age 22 also may receive benefits. Each may qualify for up to about 50 percent of your benefit amount." Despite this information, most people are completely unaware that this benefit exists, that they need to elect it in order to get it, and that it can make a huge difference in their benefits received over the rest of their lives.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.