Once you retire and claim your Social Security benefits, you expect to receive every penny due to you. Usually things go off without a hitch, but sometimes retirees find themselves surprised by a reduction in their benefits. As you continue to plan for retirement, keep these things in mind so that you can hopefully avoid them.
Incorrect earnings history. Social Security does occasionally make mistakes. Before you retire, review your earnings history to ensure that the record is correct. You can sign up for an account on ssa.gov to monitor your record each year.
You receive a certain type of pension. Some public employees are ineligible for Social Security due to the type of pension they receive. You probably know if that’s the case, but it’s worth a second glance to be sure.
You miss the Medicare enrollment window. If you don’t sign up for Medicare by the deadline (three months after you turn 65) you could be charged a higher premium. Since premiums are customarily deducted from Social Security checks, this might amount to a smaller check than you had anticipated.
Medicare premiums rise. Sometimes Medicare premiums do go up a bit, and in that case you might notice a larger deduction from your Social Security check in January. Pay attention to notices from Medicare, so that you know what to expect at the turn of each year.
You claimed benefits too early. Yes, you can retire as early as age 62, but your benefits will be permanently reduced by up to 30 percent. Sometimes that’s an acceptable trade-off, but do be prepared for it.
You’re working. If you claim Social Security benefits but you’re still working, your checks could be reduced by one dollar for every dollar that you earn above the annual earnings limit. Once you reach full retirement age, this rule does not apply.
You retired at the wrong time. Your retirement age falls between 66 and 67, depending upon when you were born. Some people mistakenly believe that 65 is the full retirement age, but that was changed a number of years ago.
Speak to a Social Security representative, or give us a call as you draw closer to your expected retirement date. We should verify that you’re retiring at the right time.