Social Security Benefits Questions

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When should I start taking social security benefits?

The earliest you can claim social security benefits, is 62, but that’s only the beginning of the answer. Full retirement age is The age at which you start taking your Social Security benefits can vastly impact your overall lifetime benefits. Other factors, such as if you are married, widowed, or divorced, can also greatly affect your benefits. That’s why it’s best to sit down with a planner before you file for your benefits, regardless of your age.

Is my social security taxable?

Yes and no. While your social security benefit is not considered part of your gross income, your benefit will be taxed if your provisional income reaches a certain limit. Your provisional income is calculated by taking half of your social security, plus any pension income, W-2 income, and IRA or 401k distributions.

Want to know how retirees taxes will change under the new tax plan? Check out this blog, Is the New Tax Reform Good for Retirees?

Can I work while on social security?

Yes, you can. But if you have not yet reached your Full Retirement Age (which is 66 for most people) you are limited to how much earned income you can make ($17,000). Once you reach your Full Retirement Age there is no limit to how much you can earn. Your social security will be taxed, but not penalized.

Is social security solvent? Will it still be there when I retire?

The short answer is yes, Social Security will still be there when you are ready to retire. Social security solvency is a topic politicians and financial news folks love to talk about, but the truth is a lot less dire than they make it out to be As is, social security is fully funded for about 20 years and 75% funded for decades after that.

Can my spouse get my social security when I die?

As long as you have been married for one year, your spouse can collect half of your benefit if it is more than all of theirs. However, they cannot collect half of your benefit unless you have already filed for your benefit.

A restricted spousal benefit allows you to begin to receive half of your spouses benefit, while your own benefit continues to grow by 8% per year. The government recently changed the rules around this benefit, and now only certain people are eligible. 

Can you collect more than one social security benefit?

Yes. There are actually several different social security benefits a person could receive over their lifetime. These benefit types include spousal, family, disability, and survivor. You can even collect more than one type of benefit at a time, and that’s when things can get tricky.

For example, If half of your spouse’s benefit is more than all of yours, you will get half of your spouse’s benefit. This applies even if you’re not eligible for any social security.

More social security questions answered.

I put together this blog to answer some of the most commonly asked social security benefits questions. In it, I explain what is WEP (Windfall elimination provision), GPO (Government Pension Offset), and Provisional income, and much more.