4 Types of Social Security Benefits Older Americans Might Be Eligible for | Smart Change: Personal Finance

(Christy Pepper)

Social Security retirement benefits have kept millions of seniors out of poverty, and many workers are looking forward to the day they will start receiving checks each month from the Social Security Administration.

But while retirement benefits are well known and much expected, they are not the only type of payments that seniors can be eligible for. It’s best to understand all the different types of checks you’re likely to receive from an SSA so you don’t leave money on the table. Here are four possible types of payments that can help you make ends meet later in life.

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1. Retirement benefits

Social Security retirement benefits are the benefits gained. The amount you receive depends on your work history, with benefits calculated based on average (inflation-adjusted) wages over the 35 years when you made the most money during your career.

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The amount of the benefit also depends on your age when you first claim benefits. You can start them as soon as 62 but you must wait until your appointment full retirement age (FRA) to receive your Standard Benefits. The full retirement age is between 66 and 4 months and 67 and is determined by your year of birth. You also have the option to wait to start benefits beyond your HR stat to earn deferred retirement credits that increase retirement income.

Retirement benefits are intended to replace about 40% of your pre-retirement income, so it’s not enough to live alone but can be a huge help with your costs once you don’t get paid.

2. Advantages of heirs

Survival benefits Dedicated to spouses of people who are dying. These benefits are available at a younger age than retirement benefits, especially if you are raising a minor child you have with the person who died. Survivor benefits are not only available if you were married at the time of your spouse’s death, but can also be available in the event of a divorce after at least a decade of marriage. You qualify for these benefits regardless of whether you have worked before, as they are based on your spouse’s work history.

Heirs benefits can be especially valuable for seniors on a fixed income. If the high-income spouse succeeds first, these benefits are a lifeline because they enable the surviving spouse to continue to receive the two largest Social Security checks at home before death occurs.

3. Marital benefits

Spousal benefits allow seniors to receive retirement benefits based on a partner’s work history. You can claim it as long as you are still married or divorced after at least a decade of marriage. They can be a great option for people who haven’t worked enough to qualify for their own benefits and those who earn less than their partner.

Spousal benefits equal to up to 50% of the amount of the basic breadwinner allowance at full retirement age. You can start getting them once you reach 62, but they will reduce your benefits if you claim them before your full retirement age. Unlike your retirement benefits, there is no advantage to delaying a claim beyond the FRA because you do not increase the amount you receive by doing so.

4. Supplemental Security Income

finally, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits Available to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. You can get these benefits with Social Security retirement income. These are financially tested advantages, and they will reduce the amount you get if you earn too much.

By understanding each of these different types of benefits, you can be sure to increase your monthly income from the Social Security Administration so that you have the money you need to enjoy your later years.

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