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Social security strategies for singles - these are friends with real benefits

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September 14
4:14 AM 2015

Single people who were never married have lesser Social Security filing option.  But still, you have to understand what they are and which one fits your needs best, according to Forbes.

Most Social Security filing methods concentrate on those who are married, widowed or divorced.  The reason is not because the decisions are any less important, it's just because there are few things single folks can do strategically when filing for Social Security.

Delay your filing.  This is one way to boost your Social Security benefit amount.  When you reach 62, you have the choice of starting to receive your money but full retirement gives you even higher benefits by 8% more each year that you wait.

Continue your job.  While receiving benefits from your Social Security, you can continue working to increase your benefits if you reported bigger earnings than the indexed earnings from the earlier years of your career.  If your present earnings are higher than the previous years, it will be recalculated by the Social Security Administration based on this greater income.

You can file and suspend afterwards.  Generally, this is a strategy done by married or previously married people but will work for single too.  You can file for Social Security but suspend the receipt of benefits right away.  In case you have a change of mind, you can receive benefits retroactively to the filing date.  This strategy is also used to benefit a dependent.

According to AARP, the truth is aside from being under 70, singles can benefit from smart planning on when to take the money.  As a matter of fact, the oft-discussed "file and suspend" strategy may even be better for singles.

"When you hit your full retirement age, you'll want to file for your Social Security benefit and suspend its collection," says Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor at Boston University and author of Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. "When you file and suspend, you have the option at any point afterwards to go back if you have an urgent need for money. You can collect all your suspended benefits in one lump sum." Kotlikoff adds that this strategy works best for those who have never married or not intending to marry before age 70.

If you want to collect your benefits before you get 70 but did not file and suspend at full retirement age, you will only receive 6 months retiree benefits in arrears.  You will get less money than if you file and suspend at full retirement age and claimed later, and would be eligible to receive benefits dating back to the time you suspended your claim.

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