4 Things Every Woman Should Know About Social Security
Social Security is important to all Americans, but in recent years it's been especially important to women. In fact, due to a long-term rise in the employment rate for women of all ages, the percentage of women ages 62 to 64 who are fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits has increased significantly since 1980.
From living longer than men to being less likely to have an employer provided pension or retirement savings plan, it's no surprise that women are the ones who rely on Social Security the most.
If you are in the process of researching your Social Security benefits and don't know where to begin, that's okay! We've got the four most important Social Security questions for women answered.
1. How Do I Qualify And Get Started?
To qualify for Social Security benefits, people must work in jobs where they pay Social Security taxes and earn Social Security credits (one per quarter, up to four per year). Most people need 40 credits (the equivalent of 10 years of work) to become fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits. It's important to note that Social Security benefits are not sent automatically. In order to receive Social Security benefits you must first apply online at ssa.gov. After your application is received, it can take up to 6 weeks for your application to be reviewed and for your benefits to start.
2. Can I Be Eligible On My Own For Social Security?
Yes! In fact, almost nine out of ten women qualify for social security on their own. If you are married or widowed, you may also be eligible for a spouse benefit or widow benefit based on your husband’s earnings record. If your husband's benefits are higher than your own benefits, you can recieve part of your spouse's benefits. If you do not have a work record and you are married, you are eligble for between one-third and one-half of your spouse’s Social Security benefit.
3. When Can I Receive My Full Social Security Benefits?
According to the Social Security Administration, once you reach age 62, you can access your full Social Security benefits. If you don't take your full Social Security benefits at your retirement age up to age 70, your benefit amount will increase. Keep in mind, there isn't an "ideal age" to start receiving benefits. In the end, choosing when to start getting your benefits is a personal decision and it's up to you to look at your unique situation and make an informed decision on when the best time would be for you to start receiving benefits. Take a close look at your financial status and ask yourself if waiting to accept your benefits is worth the extra money, or, if you need the money right now and you can't wait the extra years to start receiving it.
4. Can I Work And Still Receive My Social Security Benefits?
Yes! You can continue working and still receive your Social Security retirement benefits. However, there is a limit to how much you can earn while working and still receive full benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, if you are younger than full retirement age and earn a salary that is more than the yearly earnings limit, they may reduce your amount of benefits. If you reach full retirement age and continue working, the salary you are making will no longer reduce your benefits. If you love your job and want to keep working, go for it! You'll be able to save some extra money for retirement if you have your salary while also receiving your Social Security benefits.
Last But Not Least
If you still have questions about your retirement plan and your Social Security benefits, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional. It's best to get the advice and insight you need early on rather than waiting until the very last minute.
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