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Social Security mistakes to avoid

There are four major mistakes you can make in how to go about collecting Social Security benefits. In this post, we will present these four mistakes and how to go about ensuring you get the most out of your earned Social Security benefits.

Starting retirement benefits too early can result in a lower lifetime payout. Half of all Americans claim Social Security at age 62, which is the earliest possible age -- it also has the lowest monthly benefit. By delaying the start of monthly benefits until at least age 66, or age 70 if you can will result in a significant boost of lifetime payout.

Claiming Social Security now or early in order to get the jump on program changes may seem like a good idea. Some people are concerned with the reforms to Social Security or that it may run out of money. Social Security funds are projected to last at least two more decades, and reforms will affect younger generations. Hold out as long as you can to ensure you get the most out of the system.

Be sure to coordinate benefits for your spouse so you don't miss out on opportunities to maximize the payouts. Starting Social Security at different times for husband and wife is the way to go: delay benefits as long as possible for the highest earner.

Lastly, if you are self-employed, do not under-report your income! You may think you are maximizing your taxable income, but this can hurt your benefits in Social Security down the line, including disability benefits if you should need them.

By following these four pointers, you may be able to maximize your benefits from the system you have been paying into for your entire working life. Working with a qualified Social Security attorney can ensure that you get the benefits you deserve and can help you and your spouse plan for your retirement.

Source: CBS MoneyWatch, "Social Security errors that can cost you thousands," Steve Vernon, Sep. 11, 2012

  • Our firm represents clients who are disabled and need Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Visit our Douglasville Social Security attorney page for more information.

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