There is a lot of information available on the Social Security program. But how do you know if what you are reading is fact or fiction? Is it’s a myth or a fact? To help bring some clarity to the subject here are some common myths with Social Security and the important facts you need to know.
Myth: I can collect Medicare when I start collecting Social Security
You cannot start collecting Medicare benefits until the age of 65. For Social Security you can start collecting as early as 62. However, if you collect Social Security Disability you are automatically enrolled into Medicare after two years.
Myth: If I collect Social Security I am at a greater risk for being a victim of a scam.
Identity thieves and scammers are more likely to prey on the elderly than younger people. Mostly because the elderly will on average take longer to notice the scam. Also get your credit checked once a year to look for any suspicious activity on your credit.
Myth: I cannot collect Social Security benefits from my ex-spouse.
You can collect benefits from your ex-spouse as long as you were married for at least 10 years. However, if you remarry you cannot collect benefits. If the second marriage ends and you don’t get married then you can collect benefits.
Myth: Social Security is only for retired Americans
Social Security is also available for disabled workers of all ages, that program is called Social Security Disability Insurance. However, qualifying for the benefits can be difficult and can take up to two years to receive a ruling. Another reason you may be delayed in receiving any benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance is applications are up nearly 50 percent in the last decade.
Myth: I will be able to live on just my Social Security and live nicely
The average Social Security payment for a retired worked is around $1,200 a month. To put that in perspective that’s less than the Federal minimum for a month’s wage. You may want to rethink your retirement plan if you are looking to rely solely on Social Security for the rest of your life.
Myth: Social Security will be no more in a few years so collect it as soon as you can
While many people will tell you the right time to collect Social Security is right away because he program may not exist in the near future. Social Security is not something that will just disappear one day, but if it keeps operating the way it does right now benefits could be reduced by at least 22 percent by 2037.
As for when you should start collecting, talk with your financial advisor to see what makes the most sense for your financial plan. Delaying Social Security until you are 70 (the latest in which you can delay it) could get you more benefits. But if you are in a place where the extra income will help you then collect Social Security.
When it comes close to the time you will be eligible to collect Social Security you want to talk to a financial advisor. A financial advisor will help you decide when you should collect Social Security and what you can do to maximize the benefits for you.
If you are wondering if Social Security will be enough for you and not sure if it will be, a reverse mortgage could help cover you financially when Social Security is not enough. A reverse mortgage eliminates your current mortgage* and if you have any additional equity you can use that tax-free** cash for anything you want. There is currently no income or credit requirements for a reverse mortgage and you are never required to make a payment as long as you live in your home. You can have the peace of mind knowing you can live in your home for the rest of your life.
Kristen Curzytek is a writer for Retiring Wise. Give us a call at (800)401-8114 to talk to one of our licensed professionals. They can discuss your financial situation with you and determine if a reverse mortgage makes sense for you and your financial goals.
*Homeowner is still responsible for taxes, insurance and property maintenance.
**Please consult with your financial advisor.