How Seniors Can Maximize Their Social Security Disability, Auxiliary, Retirement, or Survivors’ Benefits
Most seniors live on a fixed income. When you are in that situation, you will want to do everything that you can to make the most of your money and to maximize your benefits. Regardless of what kind of Social Security benefits you receive – disability, retirement, auxiliary, or survivors’ benefits, you will want to choose wisely so you can maximize your benefits and get the highest amount of monthly benefits that you can receive. Here are a few things to consider when applying for Social Security benefits.
The full retirement age is 65. If you start taking retirement benefits earlier – such as at age 62 or 63 – you will not receive your full amount. If you become unable to work because of a medical problem before you reach age 65, you should apply for disability benefits. When you get disability benefits, you will get your full benefit amount. When you reach full retirement age, you will switch from disability to retirement and get your full benefit amount.
Looking at Auxiliary Benefits and Survivors’ Benefits
If your spouse is receiving disability benefits and you are not yet retired or receiving Social Security, you may be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits from his or her account. Auxiliary benefits are paid to dependent children and the spouse of the disabled individual, but there are specific family limits as to how much the combined family can receive. If you were married at least a year, or if you have been divorced after having been married 10 years or more and your spouse or former spouse dies, you may want to apply for survivors’ benefits.
If you are eligible for retirement benefits, you will want to take the highest paying benefit – either draw from your work history and take retirement benefits or draw from your spouse’s history and take survivors’ benefits. You cannot draw benefits from two different Social Security programs or accounts at one time. You should take your time to talk with the representative at your local Social Security office to determine which benefits would pay you more so you can maximize your monthly benefits.
Wait for Retirement
If you are eligible for some other kind of benefits – disability, survivors’ or auxiliary benefits, it is best to go ahead and take those benefits and wait on your retirement until you reach full age. When you do this, you will draw your full benefit when you turn 65. You will want to plan so the transition can happen immediately when you turn 65.
Applying for Social Security Benefits
When you are ready to apply for Social Security benefits, you should plan ahead and review the application process. Contact your local Social Security office. You can start your claim online at www.ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. The process does take some time, so file your claim in advance so you can get your benefits started promptly. If you or your spouse is applying for disability benefits, you will want to consult with a Social Security disability attorney who is licensed in your state.
Auxiliary Benefits: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/glossary/auxiliary-benefits
Work History: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/blog/how-work-history-affects-disability-application
Local SSA Office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
Social Security Disability Attorneys by State: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/social-security-disability-attorney
Consider Where to Retire, Before it’s Time to Retire
If you’re like most people, you have probably been thinking about retirement since the first day of your first, full-time job. As you embark on the journey, or find it just within your grasp, you should consider how and where you want to spend your time.
When considering a retirement community, it’s helpful to understand your options to find the place that best suits your lifestyle now as well as in the future.
Five Things to Consider in a Retirement Community
Retirement should be a time to do the things you love. Whether it’s exercising daily, relaxing with a book or playing cards, it’s important to look for a senior community with offerings and events of interest to you. At St. Anne’s, we plan regular activities for all levels of interest and ability. In addition, our Residents enjoy the convenience of an on-site library and café, and can take advantage of transportation to nearby recreational centers, restaurants, shopping centers and more.
Levels of Care
Initially, you may be downsizing or seeking maintenance free, independent living in a senior community, however it is important to consider more skilled care you might need in the future. St. Anne’s offers all levels of care and independence including private cottages, independent living apartments, personal care, skilled nursing care, memory support and restorative care. Once you are a member of the St. Anne’s community, we are committed to your care and prioritize your placement into more skilled care should the need arise.
While many retirement communities offer similar levels of care and activity, it is the Christian connection that can set one apart from another. If you want attend weekly worship services, consider a faith-based institution or one with close proximity to a worship center and transportation opportunities to get there.
St. Anne’s was founded by Catholic nuns and we take pride in our Catholic sponsorship, so Residents can attend the Rosary and mass on a daily basis. In addition, we welcome all our Residents, approximately half of whom are non-Catholic, to take part in interdenominational worship services every Sunday afternoon.
It’s important to ask questions around costs to “buy in” to a retirement community. For example, do you have to sell your home to be able to afford to move into the community? It’s also important to understand care an institution will provide should your finances become limited or exhausted.
At St. Anne’s, we understand the bottom line and want you to understand it too. Our staff takes the time to explain costs and fees and guide you through every step of the application process. In addition, we do not turn away current Residents should their finances become limited.
To understand the atmosphere of a retirement community, talk to the organization about the people and staff who walk the halls. You can also speak with Residents about their experiences and if they are happy with their decision to live there. If you’re looking with a spouse, ask about other couples residing in the community and how future placements into more skilled care are handled. In addition, you should inquire about waiting lists and the typical amount of time it takes to become a Resident.
St. Anne’s is a diverse retirement community open to individuals 62 years of age and older. Our entire staff takes pride in providing a clean, caring and faith-based environment where Residents can live and thrive – from independent living, to personal care, skilled nursing care, memory support and restorative care. We welcome couples as well as individuals and, once you’re a Resident, there’s always room for you in any area of care.
Choosing how and where to spend your retirement is a decision that’s a lifetime in the making. So, when considering retirement communities, schedule tours, ask questions and explore all your options and you’re certain to find the best place for you!
To set up a tour of St. Anne’s campus, apartments and cottages, please call 717-285-5443717-285-5443.