3 Questions to Ask Before Delaying a Social Security Claim Smart change: personal finance

2. How will this affect your spouse?

Delaying a Social Security claim could result in higher survivor benefits. This is because the surviving spouse essentially keeps the larger of the two benefits that the spouses were receiving. This is a big plus to delay if you have the highest income and want to make sure your spouse is taken care of.

But there is a downside to waiting for benefits to begin. If your partner is considering claiming spousal benefits on your employment history, this is not allowed until you have requested your own checks. In situations where your spouse has very little or no benefit based on a limited or no work history, you may want to file as early as possible to unlock access to spousal benefits and allow your partner to start collecting income from Social Security – – even if that would reduce any future survivor benefits.

3. How will this affect your savings?

In some cases, if you don’t apply for social assistance sooner, you may have to withdraw too much money from your savings to support yourself. Most people need income from savings and social security after retirement because benefits alone are not enough.

If you’re delaying Social Security checks because you’re trying to increase your benefits, you still have to pay the bills, ideally while maintaining a safe withdrawal rate. But if you can’t handle it, you’re probably better off relying on a combination of savings and Social Security, even if that means you can’t maximize your retirement benefits. Otherwise, your efforts to overload your Social Security checks could make you worse off throughout your later years.

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