ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Making the Most of Your Social Security Benefits

It is well known that timing is an important consideration when applying for Social Security retirement benefits.

For example, you may begin receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you wait until you have reached your full retirement age (determined by your year of birth), or even as late as age 70, the monthly amount of benefits you receive will be greater. It is less commonly known, however, that you can also use timing to maximize your benefits when you are entitled to both survivors ' (widows' and widowers') benefits and retirement benefits. Under the Social Security Act, an individual who is entitled to receive both survivors' and retirement benefits may elect to receive whichever monthly benefit is greater, and may collect survivors' benefits and defer receiving retirement benefits until he reaches his full retirement age, when his retirement benefits will be greater. You may not collect both simultaneously, but if you plan wisely, you can maximize the total amount of benefits you receive over your lifetime.

For example, a 61-year-old widower may be entitled to a small amount of survivor's benefits based on his deceased spouse's work history, and he may also begin receiving retirement benefits based on his own work history at age 62. However, if he waits until he reaches his full retirement age to apply for retirement benefits, his monthly benefit may be up to 25% greater than if he had started collecting benefits at 62. If he waits even longer -- up until age 70 -- his monthly benefit will be even greater. Assuming he has other sources of income and can afford to live on the small monthly survivor's benefit until he reaches his full retirement age, or even until age 70, it would be wise for him to do so.

It is a good idea to consider all of your options when applying for Social Security benefits, as careful planning can ensure that you receive the maximum amount from all benefits to which you are entitled. Formulating a plan for collecting benefits involves calculation of the options as well as consideration of other factors such as additional sources of income, liquidity, health and life expectancy.

Speakers

If you are interested in having an Elder Law attorney from The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. speak at an event, then please call us at:

Maryland (301) 214-2229
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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. encourages you to share this newsletter with anyone who is interested in issues pertaining to the elderly, the disabled and their advocates. The information in this newsletter may be copied and distributed, without charge and without permission, but with appropriate citation to The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. If you are interested in a free subscription to the Elder Law News, then please e-mail us at office@chroniccareadvocacy.com, telephone us at (703) 243-3200, or fax us at 703-841-9102.

This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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