Carmel, CA Social Security : When Do I File? View From A Private Duty Caregiverby Richard Kuehn on 07/24/12
The Social Security system confuses a lot of people because there are different rules depending on when you were born, different dates for entering the program, and unbeknownst to many, even penalties if you don't file for Medicare when you are supposed to. Some people still working in their 60's that have insurance fail to file for Medicare when they are supposed to and it costs them a penalty for the rest of their life. I was glad to see that The Wall Street Journal wrote a nice article recently and highlighted some important resources on the web that can help answer questions you might have. One program called Social Security Timing can crunch hundreds of timing combinations for couples and tell them when the best time is to retire. Many seniors go to a financial planner who can use this tool as well as analyzing tax implications to give them a full picture. Other tools include Social Security Choices, www.analyzenow.com (click on "Computer Programs" to go to the Social Security Planner) and AARP's calculator. There is also a program which focuses on how to get the highest payments up to the age of 100 (many other programs focus only on your average life expectancy). Click on this link to check it out. There is also something called a file and suspend strategy that you might want to see a financial planner about if you are married and in good health. For instance, a husband could file for his benefit at age 66 and then his wife can file for a spousal benefit (but not her own benefit yet). Soon after, the husband suspends his Social Security and then restarts it at age 70. His wife would then file for her own benefit at age 70. This will give them a lot more money if they live into their 90's. For more information on this, go to the Social Security Administration's website. I know this can be confusing, so be sure to talk to a trusted accountant or financial advisor before making any decision. If you are unsure what your full retirement age is (this is when you would start getting 100% of the payment) go to www.ssa.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm.