Are you a Florida senior? How are you planning for retirement? It can be a scary concept to contemplate a time when you will no longer be earning a steady paycheck and is a topic that frequently comes up in our law practice when we are creating our clients’ estate plans. Whether you have retired, or are thinking about retiring, there are things you need to know about Social Security.
Did you know today’s Social Security system provides supplemental income to many individuals across America? Persons other than retirees receiving these benefits include, but are not limited to, the disabled, spouses and dependents of persons who receive Social Security, widows, widowers, and children of deceased workers. Thus, depending on the circumstances and despite a general understanding to the contrary, a person may be eligible for Social Security at any age.
A wage earner today may take normal retirement and begin receiving monthly checks if he or she was born before 1963. At least 40 quarters of credit for contributing to Social Security or, in other words, ten years of work are needed to qualify for Social Security. Further, a person may elect to start receiving benefits as early as age 62 at a reduced rate.
Since the minimum retirement age remains at 62 while the regular retirement age has increased, a person retiring early must understand that there will be a reduced monthly benefit. For example, if a Florida resident whose normal retirement would have been age 67 retires early at the age of 62, he or she may only receive 70 percent of his or her full retirement benefit.
COLA is an acronym used for the term “Cost of Living Adjustment.” This term is also used in explaining an adjustment to a person’s Social Security benefits. Often, there is an annual increase in the benefits paid to recipients. Although it is not guaranteed, each year, there may be a COLA adjustment to the Social Security benefits if there has been an increase from the previous year in the cost of the goods that social security recipients depend upon to pay their normal living expenses.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. We encourage you to talk to us about your concerns now, in the New Year, or any time in the future. We are your local law firm ready and willing to help you with any of your estate planning, retirement, elder care, and estate administration questions.