Sunday, September 25, 2011

Women and Social Security

No matter what your age, women need to understand how Social Security works.  For most women, Social Security will play a major role in how much money they will have available once they reach their 60's.  Since you will have some important decisions to make when you begin to collect Social Security, it is very important that you have all the necessary information, so that you make the best possible decisions and maximize your income.  Below are some of the basic facts that you need to know. 

For more personal details about your specific situation, you may want to visit your nearest Social Security office, or read more online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/.

Facts about Social Security for Women

The first thing you should know is that you can collect your Social Security benefits any time between the ages of 62 and 70 (or even at a younger age, if you are a widow.)  However, the younger you are when you begin to collect, the less money you will receive for the rest of your life.  As a result, many women are smart to postpone collecting their Social Security benefits until they are at least 66.  However, the decision is completely up to you.  If you are ill, cannot work, or desperate for money, you may feel that your situation forces you to collect your benefits sooner.

If you did not earn very much income during your lifetime, you can still collect some Social Security benefits based on your husband's earnings.  This is true even if you are divorced, as long as the two of you were married at least 10 years and you have not remarried.  At your full retirement age (around the age of 66 or 67), you can receive 50% of what your husband receives at his full retirement age.  You will need to compare whether you are better off using your own benefits, based on your own past earnings or whether you would collect more money by receiving half of your husband's benefits.

On the other hand, if you earned more than your husband, then it is possible for him to receive benefits based on your earnings.  The helpful consultants at the Social Security office can help you decide how you can collect the maximum benefits.

You will also be eligible for Medicare once you turn 65, whether your Social Security and Medicare benefits are based on your own earnings or those of your husband.  Medicare will withdraw a premium of about $104 from your Social Security benefits in order to pay for your basic Medicare healthcare.  You may want this used to pay for a Medicare Advantage plans that has more benefits or you may wish to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan in addition to the basic Medicare plan.

If your husband dies, you can collect widow's Social Security benefits.  The amount varies depending on when you begin to collect.  If you wait until your full retirement age, you can collect as much as 100% of what your husband would have collected. 

There are many other factors concerning Social Security that could affect when you decide to collect.  Be sure to check with your local Social Security office as soon as you begin planning your retirement.

It is important for everyone to understand their Social Security benefits, but especially women, because so many American women spend the last few years of their lives in poverty.  You do not want this to happen to you, if you can avoid it.

If you are interested in more retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles about financial planning, including Social Security, where to retire, medical issues that could arise, family relationships and more.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit: Morguefile.com

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