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BUDGETING General

How to make the most of social security benefits

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Do you want to know what your Social Security benefits will be and how they are calculated when you plan for retirement? You’ve come to the right place. There are a few strategies for increasing your Social Security benefits. You may already be familiar with one of them, which is delaying your start date, but there are other ways to increase benefits. Before considering these strategies, it is important to have a Social Security card. This card is mandatory for all U.S. citizens. Without a Social Security card, you cannot receive its benefits. Keep reading to find out how you can make the most of your Social Security benefits and how to apply for a Social Security card in case you don’t have one (anymore).

Work more years
Let’s start with the obvious: Social Security benefits are calculated based on the 35 years you worked and earned the most money. Then, the amount is adjusted for inflation, and your monthly benefit amount is determined. So, if this period is more than one of your lowest earning years, you may choose to work for a longer period of time to increase your payments.

Suspending benefits
If you are already receiving benefits, you can also increase your monthly payments by suspending them. The full retirement age is 66 to 67, so if you want to start receiving benefits earlier, you can always do so. However, be aware that this may impact the income of those who are financially dependent on you and your benefits, such as a husband or minor child.

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Delaying the Application
If you apply for Social Security benefits between the earliest possible age of 62 and full retirement age of 66 to 67, your performance may improve, as delayed retirement can increase your payments by 8 percent each year. On the other hand, it can help if you wait until age 70 to apply.

Earn more
Earning as much as possible, often referred to as “maxing out,” is another way to increase your monthly benefit amount. This means you earn at least $132,900 a year, which is the maximum amount of income subject to Social Security payroll tax. So, if you can maintain this level of productivity for the next 35 years, you will be eligible for the maximum Social Security benefit.

Benefits for Divorced Spouses
If you are divorced and have not yet remarried, you may still be entitled to spousal benefits based on your former salary. This can be up to half of your partner’s benefit when he or she reaches full retirement age. However, if you remarry or are under age 62, you are not eligible.

How to Apply for a Social Security Card
To apply for social security benefits, you need a social security card. You must show your birth certificate to qualify for a social security card. If this is not possible for some reason, you can also show your U.S. passport, a document from the U.S. hospital showing your birth, or even a religious document showing your birth date before the age of five. If you are 12 years of age or older, you must also be present at the interview. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and you may need to present additional documentation to verify that you do not have a social security number.

As an adult U.S. citizen, you must provide proof of your citizenship to the government in order to apply for a Social Security card. This can be a U.S. birth certificate or other proof that you were born in the United States, or a valid U.S. passport. Other documents, however, may be accepted as proof of citizenship in the United States.

There are only a limited number of documents that can be used to confirm your identification, and they must meet certain criteria. For example, it must be a current document that includes your full name, other identifying information such as your date of birth or age, and a recent photograph to prove your identity. For example, you can send a copy of your U.S. driver’s license or a copy of your U.S. passport. If you do not have these documents, you may be able to provide other identification, such as a work ID or school ID.

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