Social security benefits provide an income for millions of people in the United States of America. Without these benefits, coping with the financial impacts of disabilities and retirement is impossible.
But with this, the process of applying for social security benefits is a lot less straightforward than you might assume. Often, legal representation is essential in securing these benefits.
While the rules of claiming can be somewhat complex, we’ve listed a few basic social security benefit facts everyone needs to know.
You Need 40 Credits
To qualify for these particular benefits, you must have at least 40 credits. These credits are earned throughout your career and are applicable when applying for benefits as a retiree.
On the other hand, the credit specifics are different when claiming these benefits for a disability. It’s best to rely on a specialized attorney in this case to navigate the claim process, and you can read more here about the specifics of social security benefits for disabilities.
How Your Benefits Are Calculated
It’s also essential to know how your benefits are calculated; this knowledge will enable you to calculate your benefits and budget accordingly in advance.
The benefits are calculated on the 35 calendar years you earned your income while your income was at its highest. Unfortunately, if you have fewer than 35 years of income, each year without an income will be marked at zero.
Even so, there is a maximum benefit amount, which is around $3000-$4000 per month. With this, relying on an attorney is the best way to ensure you get the best benefits when claiming.
Waiting Will Increase Your Claim Amount
Suppose you decide to claim social security benefits before you reach 62. In this case, your benefits will endure a permanent reduction of around 25%.
On the other hand, waiting longer to claim will have the opposite effect on your benefit amount. So, it’s best to wait before you claim, if possible.
Your Spouse Can Also Receive Benefits
Many consider marriage to be more of a financial agreement than anything, and this is because marriage does bring about some monetary benefits for couples. And while you might be thinking this only really applies to tax obligations, social security benefits are also available to spouses.
When claiming these benefits, your spouse can claim a spousal benefit, which will amount to about 50% of the counterparts’ social security benefits.
Even Children Can Collect Benefits
It’s not only spouses that can collect benefits, as children up to the age of 19 who have not completed high school can also get these benefits. In addition, children under the age of 18 that are disabled are also entitled to social security benefits.
Social security benefits exist to protect those who cannot earn an income due to retirement or disability. These benefits are the lifeblood of many families, and because claims are often rejected due to minor errors, it’s vital to consider legal representation when filing a claim. That said, when choosing a lawyer, be sure to opt for an expert that specializes in social security claims.