Q & A on Social Security
— Do I really have to pay federal taxes on Social Security benefits?
Well, in this case, it depends on your income. For example, if your adjusted gross income plus non-taxable income plus half your Social Security benefit add up to $25,000 or more ($32,000 for joint filers), you will have to pay federal income tax on a portion of your Social Security income. Even in this situation, though, note that your portion will never be higher than 85%.
— Can my children get Social Security benefits based on my work?
If you are qualified for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, your unmarried children are also qualified. This goes for biological children, stepchildren or adopted children alike. In fact, even dependent grandchildren may be eligible! In order to get the benefits, though, the child must be younger than 18 or older than 18 but severely disabled. Every eligible child will get half of your benefit amount each month.
— Can I increase the Social Security benefits I already get?
Getting Social Security benefits is great, but sometimes that income may not be enough to live the life you dream of. If you want to improve your income, getting a job really makes a difference – here’s how: Every year, the Social Security Administration gets records of every recipient currently employed. If your latest year of work is among the highest 35 years, your benefits will be recalculated and increased!
— Do my survivor benefits decrease if claimed early?
Just like with most other situations, your benefits increase in value until you reach the legal, full retirement age. If you want to collect your deceased spouse’s benefits at 60 years old, for instance, you will only get 71.5% of the benefits. This percent increases every month you get closer to your full retirement age. Important: If the deceased person reduced their retirement benefits, your survivor benefit will be calculated based on that amount. This way, you may be eligible for the full amount of benefits before reaching your retirement age.
— How far in advance should I sign up for Social Security benefits?
It’s best to apply about three months before you want to start collecting your benefits. However, you should also know the following info: Social Security pays a month behind. So, if you’re entitled to a benefit for March, it will be paid to you in April. If you want to start getting retirement benefits at the earliest possible, which is 62 years old, you will get the first payment two months after the month you were born in.
John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164