Learn About Social Security Retirement Benefits

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Social Security retirement benefits are available for qualifying individuals.

You can easily determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits and begin the process of applying for these benefits today. You will need to be mindful of the timeline associated with receiving benefits to ensure you will gain access to your Social Security prior to the time you have chosen to begin using it.

This article will help you to learn the essential knowledge associated with Social Security retirement benefits and will assist you in preparing for your future.

Once you begin to receive your Social Security retirement benefits you may want to establish a schedule dictating what portion of your benefits you can use each month.

This will allow you to utilize your benefits effectively without worrying about what you will do for income between the arrival of each check you receive from the United States Social Security Office. It is always a good idea to educate yourself well in advance of retirement age so you know what to expect upon retirement.

The rules are continually evolving in the Social Security Administration so it is a very good idea to periodically check to make sure you are receiving all of the benefits you are due.

How to Determine Your Requirements for Social Security

The first step in acquiring Social Security retirement benefits is to determine whether you are eligible to do so. To receive Social Security benefits after retirement:

  • You must meet the age requirement of being at least 61 years and 9 months old. You cannot apply for Social Security benefits prior to the age restriction outlined by the United States Social Security Office. If you are 62 years old and decide to apply, there is a possibility you will be able to receive your benefits the same month you submit your application.
  • You must be a United States citizen or have lawful alien status to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. You will need to prove your citizenship during the application process to remain eligible.
  • You have worked in a job covered by Social Security prior to your retirement. If you were unable to work due to a disability, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

You can still apply for Social Security retirement benefits if you no longer live in the United States or a United States territory if you meet the above-mentioned eligibility requirements. You will need to contact the United States Social Security Office directly to determine how you can complete the application process from abroad.

How to Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits

After you have determined your eligibility, you can begin the application process to receive your Social Security benefits. You should submit your application approximately one to four months prior to the date you want your benefits to begin. You will receive your payment a month after they are due which you will need to keep in mind to ensure you are applying at the time that works best for you.

For example, if you want to receive your benefits in May, you will need to submit your application no later than April. You can apply for Social Security benefits online, in person at a local Social Security Administration office or by phone. You can even apply through a U.S. Embassy office, U.S. consulate office or a Social Security office in another country when applicable.

You will need to provide the necessary documents to ensure your application for Social Security benefits is approved. If you do not have access to each document necessary for the application process you are encouraged to apply with the documents you do have in your possession.

You can either mail in documents after you have retrieved them, or you can work with the United States Social Security Office directly to determine a solution.

Additionally, you will need to attach your Social Security number to each individual document you submit to ensure the Security Office knows the documents belong to your specific application.

You will need to write your Social Security number on a blank piece of paper and attach the paper to the document. You should not write directly onto the originally copy of your documents.


How to Best Use Social Security Benefits During Retirement

Once you have received approval for Social Security benefits you will need to determine how you want to use your benefits each month. The amount you are given each month is dependent upon the age you are when you start receiving your benefits.

If you start your Social Security retirement benefits early, the amount you receive each month will be based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach full retirement age of 65 years of age.

If you wait until you reach full retirement age before applying for benefits, you will receive the full amount each month.

If you intend to live off your Social Security benefits during retirement you will want to ensure you are using the money allotted to you properly to get from one month to the next. For those who choose to work while receiving benefits, the earnings may reduce the amount of Social Security you can obtain each month.

Regardless of whether you choose to work part-time after retirement, you will still need to calculate the total amount you can spend per month after you begin to receive Social Security checks.

After you have determined how much you will make with your benefits on average you can begin to create a budget that works best for you. You can choose what percentage of the benefits you want to use and what percentage you want to save for future necessities.

If the cost of living increases after you have started to receive your Social Security benefits, the amount you are given each month will increase in accordance with this change. This will allow you to live comfortably within the means your Social Security retirement benefits provide for you.

To create a budget for yourself, calculate what you spend per month on rent, utilities and groceries. After you have done so, subtract the number from the amount you make through your Social Security benefits and create a budget to meet your financial needs each month.


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