Do You Wonder Why Your Social Security Benefits Were Short This Month?
Social security benefits are the primary source of retirement income for many people. However, if you have recently started receiving it, you may be shocked to see a reduced first payment.
Here are three reasons why you may be receiving less than expected.
1. Medicare Premiums Are a Potential Culprit
Did you know that your social security check can shrink if you enroll in Medicare?
Yes, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicare once you turn 65. However, did you know that your premiums are deducted from your social security benefits if you enroll in Medicare Part B?
While the standard monthly premium is set at $144.60 for 2020, you may end up paying more if you earn more and pay more taxes.
But there’s good news if your income has recently dropped.
You can appeal to the SSA for a lower premium. Do update them about the drop because the IRS may provide old data to the SSA.
2. Offsets Can Shrink Your Social Security Check
Yes, all it takes is an offset to reduce your social security benefits.
It doesn’t matter if it’s taxes, defaulted student loans or unpaid alimony, or child support obligations. The person you owe money to can claim your benefits.
Though SSA regulations protect your first $750 in benefits, they will reduce it if it’s proven that the debts belong to you.
But don’t worry.
They won’t claim the entire amount in a month.
Instead, they reduce your benefits by a certain amount each month until your dues are repaid. You will start receiving the full check amount once you repay your debt, or reach your actual retirement age.
3. Early Claims Can Shrink Your Social Security Benefits
Yes, even your claiming social security benefits before reaching your full retirement age leads to reduced benefits.
Depending on your age, 66 or 67 is the full retirement age for most people. It’s also an ideal time to claim your check.
However, some people tend to claim their social security check well before it, at about 62.
Yes, it may help you financially if you need urgent cash for perhaps health reasons or unemployment. However, the disadvantage is that it leads to automatic and permanently reduced social security benefits.
You may wonder how much you stand to lose by an early claim.
Well, suppose your average retirement age is 67 but you apply for your social security benefits at 62.
Your social security check shrinks by as much as 30% because you had taken benefits for an additional 60 months.
It’s a significant reduction, and it’s permanent too. So it’s better to do your calculations first to decide if it’s worth and necessary to apply for benefits early.
On the contrary, you stand to receive an extra 8% more every year if you wait and claim when you are 70. However, as there’s no further increase in your benefits after 70, there’s no point in waiting longer.
4. Other Potential Factors
There are two other possible reasons for your social security check shrinking.
· An increase in your retirement income by perhaps a big sale, a profitable business, or while working as a freelancer.
· You have Medicare Parts A and B and pay a separate premium for supplemental policies like the Medigap plan.
With so many potential reasons for your social security benefits to be reduced upon retirement, it’s better to be ready for it. Prepare by assessing how any potential income will affect your benefits.
And also, try to clear off as many outstanding debts as possible and decide if it’s worth and necessary to make an early claim. It’s better to be prepared and if you need assistance, you can always turn to your Glendale social security benefits attorney.