Social Security Tips To Avoid Income Tax Surprises

Many seniors are surprised to find out that their Social Security benefits are taxable, and the bill can be significant.  The amount that is taxable for an individual earning $25K to $34K is 50%, while if you make more than $34K then 85% of your benefits are probably taxable.  What to do when you don’t want a surprise come April 15 is to fill out Form W-4V with The Social Security Administration requesting an amount to be withheld for taxes.  The choices are 7%, 10%, 12% and 22%.  These percentages apply to the full income, not the 50% or 85% that is taxable.    Most states, including California, do not tax Social Security income.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/powell/2021/03/17/2021-tax-season-are-social-security-benefits-considered-taxable-income/4717044001/

 

Pacific Grove, CA Guide To Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

After the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to deal with bills, insurance, and Social Security.  Of the

5.7 million people awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, 886K were survivors of deceased workers.  In total there were 3.9 million widows and widowers receiving benefits in 2019.  You should report to the Monterey County Social Security office when a spouse dies.  Their number is 1-800-772-1213.  Unfortunately, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.  The calculation is that if your deceased spouse was taking Social Security, your benefit will be the greater of your benefit or your spouse’s benefit.  If you are not yet collecting Social Security and you’re at least 60, the best way to maximize your benefits are to collect the survivors benefit at your current age and then switch to retirement benefits starting at age 70.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2021/01/20/social-security-covid-understanding-how-survivors-benefits-work/4221795001/

Carmel, CA Guide To Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

After the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to deal with bills, insurance, and Social Security.  Of the 5.7 million people awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, 886K were survivors of deceased workers.  In total there were 3.9 million widows and widowers receiving benefits in 2019.  You should report to the Monterey County Social Security office when a spouse dies.  Their number is 1-800-772-1213.  Unfortunately, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.  The calculation is that if your deceased spouse was taking Social Security, your benefit will be the greater of your benefit or your spouse’s benefit.  If you are not yet collecting Social Security and you’re at least 60, the best way to maximize your benefits are to collect the survivors benefit at your current age and then switch to retirement benefits starting at age 70.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2021/01/20/social-security-covid-understanding-how-survivors-benefits-work/4221795001/

Pacific Grove, CA Social Security Policy For Spouses Who Haven’t Worked

The November 2020 issue of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report (page 18) went over some of the tricky parts of Social Security.  One reader wrote in and asked when his wife can receive benefits and how much will she get given that she has not worked and, therefore, has not paid anything into the Social Security Fund.  The answer?  Like anyone else she can start receiving benefits starting at the age of 62.  If she does, she would get 33.5% of her husband’s full retirement benefit.  However, if she waits until her full retirement age, she will receive 50% of his benefits.

Monterey, CA Guide To Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

After the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to deal with bills, insurance, and Social Security.  Of the 5.7 million people awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, 886K were survivors of deceased workers.  In total there were 3.9 million widows and widowers receiving benefits in 2019.  You should report to the Monterey County Social Security office when a spouse dies.  Their number is 1-800-772-1213.  Unfortunately, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.  The calculation is that if your deceased spouse was taking Social Security, your benefit will be the greater of your benefit or your spouse’s benefit.  If you are not yet collecting Social Security and you’re at least 60, the best way to maximize your benefits are to collect the survivors benefit at your current age and then switch to retirement benefits starting at age 70.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2021/01/20/social-security-covid-understanding-how-survivors-benefits-work/4221795001/

Pacific Grove, CA Think Twice Before Taking Early Social Security

Many people take Social Security at the earliest possible time rather than waiting until their official retirement age, which can cost them over $100K over the remainder of their lifetime.  Recessions and a jump in early Social Security claims go hand-in-hand, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  According to Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, there’s been a 7% increase in the number of Americans who retired after the pandemic.  Edgar Freeberg, 66, said he had planned on waiting until he was 70 to claim Social Security.  “I was going for the 70 thing,” he told USA Today.  But after his job was outsourced, he felt he had no other choice.  Statistics show that filing at age 62 the average household loses out on about $111,000 in lifetime benefits.  Here in Monterey, Social Security payments top the national average by a high margin in the wealthier pockets like Carmel and Pebble Beach.  But if you are not on the high end of the wage earning spectrum, it may pay to wait to file.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/29/social-security-took-checks-early-because-covid-you-get-do-over/3567304001/

Monterey, CA Social Security Payments Rise Slightly This Year

Social Security participants are likely to get an ever-so-slightly increase this year (+1.3%) according to the numbers looking at the index that cost of living adjustments (COLA) are based on.  Of the 68 million people on Social Security and Disability, the average payment will go up by $19.70 to $1,537.  “It makes people have to take more out of savings,” Mary Johnson, a policy analyst for the Senior Citizen League, said.  That’s due to the fact that many people believe the index doesn’t adequately account for inflation.  “Other people who don’t have savings will go into debt.  Many people may go into poverty,” she said.  Still, the cost of living in Monterey is so high this is not going to make much of a dent for local seniors.

Social Security Benefits To Rise 1.3% In 2021

The cost of living increase (COLA) for seniors and others receiving Social Security will rise only 1.3% in 2021, down from the 1.6% increase in 2020.  This works out to an average of $20/month for those receiving the benefit.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets the increase based on the Labor Department’s consumer-price-index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, also known as the CPI-W.

Monterey, CA Social Security Policy For Spouses Who Haven’t Worked

The November 2020 issue of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report (page 18) went over some of the tricky parts of Social Security.  One reader wrote in and asked when his wife can receive benefits and how much will she get given that she has not worked and, therefore, has not paid anything into the Social Security Fund.  The answer?  Like anyone else, she can start receiving benefits starting at the age of 62.  If she does, she would get 33.5% of her husband’s full retirement benefit.  However, if she waits until her full retirement age, she will receive 50% of his benefits.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Social Security Scam

You read about the latest scams in the paper on almost a daily basis, but I just got a call myself on my cell phone with a robot saying, “Your Social Security number was used fraudulently in a transaction in Laredo, Texas.  Please press 1 to speak to an officer.”  I typically screen my calls, but since this was coming from an 831 area code I was curious and picked up the phone.  I hung up without pressing 1 and when I googled the telephone number it was a cell phone, so surely it was not the Social Security Administration.  Be careful, these scams seem to increase around holiday time.