The topic of maximizing Social Security benefits has become one of the hottest topics in America.
Articles on the subject pepper the pages of Yahoo Finance, Forbes, and even the Wall Street Journal.
It makes sense that the subject has moved to the forefront of the American public’s mind, in light of what could be called a “retirement crisis” that’s already begun in our country.
For example, a 2013 survey showed that 31% of Americans have absolutely zero retirement savings and no pension plans.
And seniors near retirement aren’t much better off… In 2013, the median retirement account balance among all households ages 55 to 64 was only $14,500.
With little or no savings in the bank, retirees are focusing their efforts on maximizing the only guaranteed source of income they will have in retirement – Social Security.
One of the experts on these claiming strategies is Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff — a Boston University professor and Senior Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers to Ronald Reagan from 1981-1982.
Dr. Kotlikoff says there are some benefits that many Americans never realize they qualify for. For example…
COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY AT ANY AGE
Most people believe that you can’t receive Social Security benefits until you are 62 years old. However, if your spouse is collecting benefits and you have a child under the age of 16 living with you or a disabled child (who became disabled before 22 and remained disabled thereafter), then you can file to receive benefits, no matter what your age.
GET EXTRA BENEFITS FROM YOUR DIVORCE
It’s not commonly known that getting divorced can dramatically change your payout from Social Security. There are two dates you must get right in order to maximize your benefits fully, but if you qualify, it could mean $1,000s extra for your retirement.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BENEFITS IF YOU FILED IN THE LAST 11 MONTHS
Once you file for Social Security retirement benefits, you have a window of 364 days to withdraw your filing and start over. But you have to repay all benefits received. A different strategy if you mistakenly filed early is to suspend your benefit starting at full retirement age and restart it at age 70 at a 32% higher monthly benefit.
GET A FULL SPOUSAL BENEFIT FOR FOUR YEARS FOR FREE FOR YOU OR YOUR WIFE
There are several really important details to make this work and to make sure you don’t jeopardize your future benefits. One has to do with the timing… another has to do with the way you restart your benefits. I’ve never seen this idea written about in such great detail, anywhere else, but it will make a huge difference in your benefits.
The point is, there are several totally legal and easy ways to boost your Social Security payments. You just have to understand how these strategies work, and how to put them to use.
In some cases, Dr. Kotlikoff says that high-income married folks are able to increase the amount they get by as much as $400,000 over their lifetime.
Of course, all of these strategies and techniques may not apply to your specific situation… But if even just ONE works for you, it could make an extraordinary difference for your retirement.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Kotlikoff has written much more about this subject. To learn more about the specifics on how to boost your own Social Security payouts,