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April is National Social Security Month

April is National Social Security Month

Every year, the Social Security Administration dedicates the month of April to bringing awareness of the agency’s programs and services. Most people are aware of the monthly fund to which every American worker (regardless of age) makes regular contributions. Upon retirement, seniors are eligible to reap the benefits. However, Social Security is about much more than just a monthly check.

In fact, anyone can create an online account now to easily track and monitor their earnings history, and determine if they’re financially-stable to support retirement. Here’s what you need to know about Social Security:

Know the Details

Age is a determining factor in terms of the funds for which you’ll be eligible. This is based on the concept of “full retirement.” As of 2018, full retirement age is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. It’s important to note, however, that individuals can begin collecting Social Security benefits at the age of 62, regardless of birth year.

Social Security benefits are updated to accommodate inflation considerations. This is known as cost-of-living adjustments, or COLA. In short, this means you won’t be punished with lower Social Security benefits due solely to inflation.

Married couples enjoy an additional benefit in what’s called a spousal benefit, which is up to 50 percent of the other spouse’s benefit. So, if your benefit is worth $2,000 but your spouse’s benefit is worth $500, your spouse can switch to a spousal benefit worth $1,000 — a $500 monthly increase in Social Security income.    

There are also considerations in place should one spouse pass on before the other. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Council on Aging can help guide you to finding answers to all your Social Security-related questions.

Consider Your Options

Seniors who are willing and able to delay retirement could see an eight percent increase in Social Security benefits up to the age of 70. This includes COLA adjustments.

Though rarely used, there is also an option to “take back” a decision to accept Social Security benefits. Within 12 months of receiving benefits, it’s possible to withdraw an application. All benefits received must be repaid, including applicable spousal benefits.

It’s also important to note that, while possible, many seniors find it difficult to survive on Social Security benefits alone. That’s why it’s wise to explore savings options and even side jobs that can help generate supplemental income.

Assistance is Available

Navigating the myriad details at play approaching and during retirement can quickly become frustrating and overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Instead, COA can help connect you with representatives who can answer your questions and concerns regarding Social Security. In addition, there are many other community resources available.

Beyond agency contact, we also offer a variety of options to get involved in the community and interact with like-minded individuals. With three dedicated dining sites and four senior citizen centers across Volusia County, you’re never too far from obtaining the assistance you desire while exploring opportunities to make meaningful connections. Contact us today or simply drop by one of our convenient locations.

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