Page 3 - Senior Times 26-01 January 2019
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Senior Times - January 2019 Page 3DETERMINING RETIREMENT BENEFITSBy: Vonda Vantil, Social Security Public Affairs SpecialistQuestion: I plan to retire soon. What do I need to know?you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may result in higher benefits when you do retire.Are you curious about how much your retirement benefits will be? You can get an idea of what your benefits will be using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator.Answer: It depends on your date of birth. If you were born on or before 01/01/1954 and your spouse is receiving Social Security benefits, you can apply for retirement benefits on your spouse’s record as long as you are at your full retirement age. You then will earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70,as long as you do not collect benefits on your own work record. Later, when you do begin receiving benefits on your own record, those payments could very well be higher than they would have been otherwise. If your spouse is also full retirement age and does not receive benefits, your spouse will have to apply for benefits and request the payments be suspended. Then you can receive benefits on your spouse’s Social Security record.The idea of applying for Social Security retire- ment benefits might seem daunting, but it’s not. There’s no need to visit an office. You don’t have to use the phone. We have an online retirement applica- tion that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes and from the comfort of your home or office. In most cases, once your application is submitted elec- tronically, you're done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed. It’s as simple as that.You can start your application now at www. socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement.Question: When are Social Security benefits paid?Question: Can I delay my retirement benefits and receive benefits as a spouse only? How does that work?You can apply online for retirement benefits or benefits as a spouse if you:• Are at least 61 years and 9 months old;• Are not currently receiving benefits on your ownAnswer: Benefits are paid monthly. Generally, new retirees receive their benefits on either the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on the day in the month the retiree was born. If you receive benefits as a spouse, your bene- fit payment date will be determined by your spouse’s birth date.Social Security record;• Have not already applied for retirement benefits;You’ll have to create or sign into your my Social Security account as part of your application. If you don’t have an account yet, this is a perfect timeto create one. Just as important, this is where you will be able to check your application for benefits. Like our other online services, my Social Security is available on your time and there’s no waiting in line or on the phone. You can see your entire work history going back to your first job to make sure we have all of your wages correctly tallied. Create or sign into your account at www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount.Question: Will my retirement benefits increase if I wait and retire after my full retirement age?Here’s a chart showing how your monthly pay- ment date is determined:Day of the Month You Were BornSocial Security Benefits Paid On1st-10thSecond Wednesday11th-20thThird Wednesday21st-31stFourth Wednesdayand• Want your benefits to start no more than fourmonths in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than four months in advance.)For a calendar showing actual payment dates, see the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.If you were born on or after 01/02/1954, and you wish to receive benefits, you must file for all bene- fits for which you are eligible. For individuals born on or after 01/02/1954, there is no longer an option to select which benefit you would like to receive, even beyond your full retirement age. Widows are an exception, as they can choose to take their deceased spouse’s benefit without filing for their own. For more information, please visit www.socialsecurity. gov.Answer: Yes. You can increase your Social Security retirement benefit in two ways.1-If you delay receiving retirement benefits. We will add these increases automatically from the time you reach full retirement age until you start receiv- ing benefits or reach age 70; andVonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.2-If you continue to work. Each additional yearWishing you the best in the New Year.CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR TOUR 269-968-9105Your Best Choice for Senior Independent Living!• Rent $560 per month: Includes ALL utilities (water, sewer, trash, heat, electricity). Satellite TV additional $20 per month. A/C additional $15 per month. 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