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The Biggest Threat to Your Social Benefits – The Motley Fool



Millions of people rely on the money they get from social security to survive in retirement or disability. Most people expect when to claim their pension and are looking forward to their 62nd birthday as the first time they can receive payments based on their work histories.

Yet social security is complicated, and there are many other rules about the program people do not know about. One thing a growing number of Americans are most frustrated with in terms of social security is that they may not even know of the benefits they may receive – and in most cases, neither the Social Security Administration nor others will proactively inform you she, if you do not ask. This means that the biggest threat to your social security benefits is not finding out what these benefits should be ̵

1; and when you can get them.

  Page of an office building with words from the Social Security Administration

Source: Getty Images

A sad story

One example of this all too common phenomenon came from Ohio recently. According to investigators for the local subsidiary of Cleveland ABC, an Akron man applied for social assistance for the first time in 2009. He had previously been married, and his ex-spouse had died after his divorce in the episode.

Social Security According to reports, the administration gave him the choice between his own retirement benefits and his ex-spouse's benefits, having been married for more than 10 years. What the SSA did not do fully explained the man that he could claim survivor benefits, while he decided not to claim his own pension rights, but collects delayed retirement credits that could lead to larger payments The Future

Nur Seven years later, the man learned that he would have been able to claim survivor benefits two years earlier at the age of 60. He then went back to the SSA to claim these survivor benefits, according to reports So far, he was unable to collect the full amount, and his advisers told him that he could get back just one year or less of those benefits.

The challenge of getting good information

It can be incredibly difficult to get accurate information about the details of the social security program. Even SSA employees do not always fix everything, and although you feel you can count on what these people say, that was not always a good idea. In a report from the Inspector General of the SSA at the beginning of the year, the problem of co-ordinating survivor benefits was one of the most difficult problems facing SSA staff. The report took a sample of 50 different people in this situation and analyzed the guidelines that the staff gave them. In 41 cases, recipients could have received a higher pay-out if they had decided to take on their survivor benefits while delaying their own retirement benefits. By contrast, in just one case, the person has actually made the right move.

As difficult as it is to learn about benefits, the price can be high. Underpayments can cost you thousands of dollars each year, which add up to hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Take care of yourself

The Social Security Administration is taking steps to improve its internal controls to help people in these and similar situations get the information they need to make the best decisions about their long-term finances. However, these efforts are likely to be slow and there is no guarantee that SSA staff will be able to keep up with future changes to the program.

The best solution is to take advantage of your own benefits by accurately using reputable sources and fully explain the benefits you can get. If you have the right information, you are in the best position to make the smartest choice – and get all the money you need.


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