What you should know about drawing social security income

Social secruityMany people don’t know that you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The monthly benefit amount you are eligible to receive will vary based on the age at which you start receiving it. In this post we will share some tips and information to help you plan for when to apply for your SS benefits.

If you choose to start receiving your SS benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive them prior to reaching full retirement age. The amount of the reduction will depend on the year you were born.

If you have excess earnings, some of your SS benefits may be withheld until you reach full retirement age. At that time, the Social Security Administration will recalculate your benefit amount and give you credit for any months in which you didn’t receive SS benefits because of excess earnings.

If you wait until full retirement age to apply for benefits, your benefits will not be reduced. If you decide to delay your SS benefits until after full retirement age, your benefits will be increased based upon the number of months you didn’t receive benefits between full retirement age and age 70.

If you hold off until reaching full retirement age, be sure to apply within 6 months of attaining full retirement age. The Social Security Administration will only pay benefits for the previous 6 months. So don’t delay in applying!!

Once you reach age 70, there is no additional benefit increase, even if you decide to delay taking your SS benefits.

Be aware that the Social Security Administration pays SS benefits the month after they are due. So if you want your SS benefits to start beginning in January, you will receive your first check in February. Be sure to factor that one month “delay” into your calculations and planning.

If you have questions about social security or the timing of your retirement benefits please contact Newman Elder Law at 267-288-5765.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying1.html

Aging is a Success Story

Senior couple on cycle rideAging is the sign of a successful life. After all, when you think about the alternative to aging your perspective about getting older shifts. You should start seeking self-sufficiency for your retirement years well before the age of sixty-five. But, even if you have not done so, don’t shun the planning stages. You need to address planning no matter what your age. Some preparation is better than none at all. It can provide you with some peace of mind and can take pressure off of family members who would have to make their own income adjustments to be able to provide money to support your cost of living. No one wants to become a burden to their children or otherwise extended family. It feels good to be able to provide for oneself (and one’s spouse) no matter how lavishly or modestly. It is a relief to know that you have solid plans as well as contingency plans for the future. Although it can be hard work and tough to realize how much it will take to cover your future living expenses, putting off the planning stage does not lead to easier or better outcomes.

First of all, consider your location. Many seniors prefer the idea of living out their lives in their own home but there is much to consider about that approach. Are you close to family members or someone willing to help drive you to doctor appointments and grocery stores when you are no longer able? Can your home accommodate a wheel chair; is there a bedroom on the first floor or is there a way to get up and down the stairs? How expensive are the property taxes in your area? How mild is the weather? If you want to go to a retirement community, what locations are most affordable as well as most desirable? How would you transition to less independent living over time?

Once you know your location goals, do some worst-case planning. Adverse health and unforeseen life events can ravage your finances unless you are already managing a sizeable sum of assets or have incorporated proper planning. You might look for advice as to how to turn a nest egg into retirement income, or how to add to your long-term insurance care, or to establish some long-term insurance care. Think particularly about in-home care should your goal be to stay in your own home as you age.

You need to know if your state has approved the Long-Term Care Partnership Program, a joint federal-state policy initiative to encourage the purchase of private long-term care insurance. A professional can explain to you how it can protect some of your assets if you would require extensive care in the future, for instance for Alzheimer’s disease, which could potentially exhaust your private insurance policy benefits and require you to apply for Medicaid. A professional can also advise you if there are any federal or state tax incentives available to you for long-term care partnership insurance. You can also discuss implementing some additional life insurance that can remain in force until you are eighty. It can help a spouse with extra money should something happen to you. In the meantime, both of you could sleep better at night knowing the insurance policy is in place. The point is, you need to examine some potential worst case expenditure scenarios and how you would be able to meet the needs of your care should the moment arise.

Your aging is a success story. Embrace how you prepare for your senior years no matter what your age is, and the sooner the better! Retirement requires careful thought, planning and decision making for the best outcome possible for you and your loved ones.

Contact our office today at 267-288-5765 to schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning.

Make Sure Your Wishes Are Carried Out

Cute 80 plus year old married couple posing for a portrait in their house. Love forever concept.The importance of making end of life preparations cannot be stressed enough. Many put off making these plans thinking there is always time. The sad reality is that none of us are guaranteed time. Others may be bothered by the thought of death itself and allow this to paralyze them when it comes to making plans and getting their affairs in order for the end of life. However, most of these same people have wishes and thoughts about where and to whom their assets are distributed. Many of them also have ideas about what they do and do not wish to have happen when their life ends. Lack of preparation and planning means that these wishes likely will not be honored. In addition, it causes additional strain and stress on the people who are left to sort out the affairs. An example of this is the story of Frances.

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Identity Theft – How Seniors Can Protect Themselves

Protect personal identity concept of privacy theftWhile identity theft affects people of all different age groups, more and more senior citizens are becoming targets of this crime.

There are a few different reasons why older people fall prey to identity thieves:

  • After a lifetime of saving, they have more money than younger people
  • More people have access to their personal info, thanks to nursing homes and the health care system
  • Seniors tend to be more trusting and may not see the signs of identity theft
  • Older people are less likely to report identity theft out of fear of losing their independence

Fortunately, there are steps seniors and their caregivers can take to avoid falling victim to identity theft.

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Alzheimer’s Disease 101 – Understanding the Basics

woman with alzheimer's disease What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is defined as an irreversible, progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age. It is the most common form of dementia.

What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a generalized deterioration of the brain. The disease is caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. There are a variety of factors that put people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Age and genetics are risk factors. As people age or if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s, there is a greater risk of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. People with Down Syndrome or mild cognitive impairment have a greater chance of having Alzheimer’s as they age. If a person has experienced past head trauma, this puts them at risk for Alzheimer’s.

The risk of Alzheimer’s is also related to lifestyle and heart health. Those with poor heart health and an unhealthy lifestyle put themselves at greater risk for the disease.

Finally, women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men. Some causes and risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease are impossible to change or control, but lifestyle and heart health are things that can be controlled.

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Paying for Long-Term Care – A Creative Approach

Medicaid word cloudThe business of selling long term care insurance has changed dramatically over the last 20-30 years, which in turn has affected how senior citizens protect their assets.

What was once a busy marketplace of more than 100 insurers vying for long-term care dollars, has shrunk to a group of fewer than 20.

This was because many insurers drastically underestimated how long their policy holders would live, and how many claims they would file.

As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, the insurance industry is in the midst of something of a panic trying to cover its losses, which means that many senior citizens who have long-term care policies are seeing significant rate hikes, some as high as 90 percent.

This leaves them with an almost impossible choice: pay this steep increase or walk away from coverage you’ve been paying into for years, if not decades.

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Understanding Hospice Care

Helping hands.What is Hospice care?

Hospice care can be very difficult for families to come to terms with, but can be a beneficial care option for those caring for a terminally ill loved one. The purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort and quality of life for a terminally ill person. Hospice care can allow the patient to remain at home and can provide ways to alleviate pain and make the person more comfortable. It is a great option for those who are seriously ill, who have exhausted their treatment possibilities, or who do not wish to continue treatment for a terminal illness.

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You Against the World? What it Means to “Solo Age”

Although Baby Boomers are living longer, healthier lives, they’re often doing so on their own.solo aging

It’s what’s known as “solo aging,” a term for what happens when a senior has no children or younger family members to help them as they get older.

There was a time when getting older meant going to live in a nursing facility or moving in with younger family members who could help tend to a senior’s needs.

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Why May is Special for Elder Law Attorneys – Part 1

National Elder Law MonthMay is National Elder Law Month, as designated by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  It is a way to acknowledge the profession that supports seniors and their families with all of their planning needs. And while that sounds great, many people still ask, “What do elder law attorneys do?” Part 1 of this series, “Why May is Special for Elder Law Attorneys” will explore several ways elder law attorneys help seniors and their loved ones.

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What to Consider in Retirement Planning

retirement money

Read up on retirement planning in America, and you come across some pretty startling statistics:

  • One in three Americans have no retirement savings. The same number of people say they expect to work in retirement to supplement their income
  • More than 40 percent of single seniors over 65 get at least 90 percent of their income from Social Security
  • Even healthy couples will pay close to $400,000 on health care in retirement

With all that in mind, it becomes painfully apparent how important it is to plan for retirement, yet it’s a process that many people aren’t even sure how to approach.

With that in mind, we’d like to suggest some questions you should ask to help start putting together your retirement plan.

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