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Check these 3 things that may be impacting your Social Security benefits

Social Security beneficiaries see monthly payments that make up for a portion of their salary once they retire.

There are several factors that can influence your Social Security.

There are three in particular that may impact how much money you get every month.

By being more aware of these things, it can help set you up for success before retiring.

Related: There are 5 changes to Social Security going into effect next week, are you ready?

Here are t3 factors that impact your benefits when it’s time to collect

If you have any years where you had a $0 income, it will drag your monthly benefits down.

Your 35 highest earning years are averaged together to figure out what you’re entitled to when collecting Social Security. If you have less, than the earnings are $0 for those years.

This means if you’ve only worked for 28 years, 7 of those years will count for $0 when averaged together.

The years with zero income could drop your benefits by hundreds of dollars each month.

Related: Missing Social Security or SSI check? Here are 4 reasons why it may not have arrived


Your age when you retire plays a major part in how much you’ll get each month.

This is because if you retire as soon as possible, which is 62, you risk losing as much as 30% of your monthly benefits for the entirety of your retirement.

If you wait until your full retirement age, which is 66 or 67 depending on the year you were born, you’ll get the full amount you’re entitled to.

What’s better is to wait until age 70. By waiting from 66/67 until age 70, you’ll gain 8% more in benefits for each year.

The cap is age 70, once you reach that age you cannot increase what your benefits will be.

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Whether you are married, divorced, or widowed, that will have an effect on your benefits.

It’s simpler to claim as a single person, so it’s best to better understand the differences when it gets a bit more complicated.

There are different options or ways to claim benefits, but not all offer as much money as you may get another way.

Married people can claim either their own benefit, or to take 50% of their spouses benefits once they retire.

If this is the case, the SSA will grant you whichever benefits end up being higher.

Related: Here are 3 ways to make sure you get the most out of Social Security when it’s time to claim benefits

You can only claim for spousal benefits once your spouse retires, not before.

Divorced spouses can claim benefits after being divorced for at least two years, and they’re available whether your ex has retired or not.

You may only be eligible as a divorced person collecting ex-spousal benefits if you were married for at least 10 years and did not remarry.

Survivor benefits can go to widowers caring for children of the deceased spouse.

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