Social Security will be an important benefit of your retirement plans as a typical American, and it will most likely be a huge part of your income. Many Americans, however, don’t fully understand how these benefits work and what the program does for you. For Americans who go into this process unaware, you could fall into some pretty common financial traps that could permanently reduce your income later on.
3 Mistakes You Want to Avoid When Becoming a Social Security Recipient
- Claiming benefits before you know how they work. If you don’t fully understand the factors that could impact your Social Security income, you could most likely make poor decisions when attempting to claim benefits. You should fully know how your age, work history, and marital status will affect your benefits during the claim process. For example, retiring before full retirement age (FRA) will reduce your monthly income. If you work less than 35 years, your benefits will be decreased. You could claim benefits based on your spouse’s employment record depending on if you’re married, divorced or widowed.
- Depending on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help you understand your benefits. The SSA is unfortunately known for giving bad advice to certain people on when and how they should claim their benefits. The SSA also has no controls or rules to warn employees if someone would be better off delaying their benefits. SSA employees are not trained as financial advisors, so they will not fully understand your situation and can’t give quality financial advice.
- Not applying for Social Security Disability during early retirement. Many people decide to retire early because of specific health concerns that have made it impossible to continue work. However, instead of claiming retirement benefits, you can consider trying to apply for Social Security Disability. There are many benefits to this alternative option, including collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which will ensure that you won’t decrease your income by claiming retirement benefits early. SSDI benefits also guarantee that you’ll have a higher monthly income at full retirement age. You will also be qualified for a disability freeze, which can permit the SSA to discount any low-earning years when you were disabled.
Speaking with an experienced Tulsa Social Security disability attorney will also ensure that you have more information about the process beforehand. Call us at Troutman & Troutman, P.C. today for your free consultation.