Do You Have Any Advice For Increasing My Benefit Rate?

Oct 8 2018 - 4:20pm

I will be 64 in November. I have been out of work since April 2018. I recently filed for Social Security benefits. I'm still applying for jobs. Any advice to increase my benefits or savings should find a job? Fyi I am single, but was married 17 years. Birth date is Nov 1954. Don't think I can claim under ex-. My benefit at 64 is higher than his full benefit, which he has been getting.

Hi,

If your ex's full benefit rate is lower than your current reduced rate, you'll probably never be able to receive any Social Security benefits from his account even if he dies before you. Therefore, it sounds like you'll probably be stuck with your reduced benefit rate for as long as you're living.

You could potentially increase your reduced benefit rate somewhat if you resume working and you earn more in a future year than you did in one or more of your previous 35 highest years of wage-indexed earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). And, if you return to work before you reach your full retirement age (FRA) of 66 and some of your benefits are withheld due to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html), your benefit rate would be adjusted effective at FRA to remove some of the reduction previously applied to your benefit rate.

You could also increase your benefit rate by 2/3rds of 1% for each month that you voluntarily suspend your benefits between ages 66 & 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home%2Fhandbook/handbook.07/handbook-0720.html). Or, you may still be able to withdraw the claim you filed and reapply for a higher benefit rate and a later date. However, you could only withdraw your claim within 12 months of when you started drawing, and you'd have to repay all of the benefits you've received (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/withdrawal.html). You may want to consider using our maximization software to explore and compare your options in order to determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry