Many individuals who receive monthly Social Security checks may not realize that they have the potential to receive additional income, akin to a bonus. While this isn’t officially labeled as a bonus, there exist strategies to maximize your retirement benefits, essentially serving as a ‘bonus’.
Social Security benefits can span several decades, so it’s vital to extract as much value from them as you can. The measures to boost these benefits aren’t overly complex, but rather safe and practical steps that can help increase the size of your Social Security checks. Let’s delve into the steps you should consider for enhancing your Social Security income.
Strategies to Boost Your Social Security Retirement Benefits
The first and foremost suggestion is to maximize your earnings while you’re still employed. The more you earn, the higher your retirement benefits will likely be. The Social Security Administration calculates your payout based on your 35 highest-earning years. Therefore, if you don’t have 35 years of earnings yet, or if your income was relatively low during those years, it’s advisable to strive for higher pay before considering retirement. This is the first step in bolstering your Social Security payments.
The second strategy involves deferring your claim for Social Security benefits as long as feasible. You have the option to start claiming as early as 62, but delaying this can increase your benefits significantly. If you start collecting at 62, you’ll receive 30% less than if you waited until you’re 70 years old.
Moreover, it’s crucial to explore your eligibility for spousal benefits, especially if you’ve never been employed but your spouse has. Such individuals may qualify for spousal Social Security benefits, potentially reaching up to 50% of the working spouse’s benefit if they wait until the full retirement age to file. Lastly, don’t overlook the Annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This adjustment, designed to offset inflation’s impact on purchasing power, is the closest thing to a bonus you’ll get from Social Security benefits.
By following these strategies, you can effectively enhance your Social Security check without it being officially termed a ‘bonus.’ With these steps, you can ensure a comfortable financial safety net for your retirement years.