A variety of Social Security myths populate the internet, often fed by either misinformation or misunderstanding. But many of them actually bear no clout. We’ll explain why.
If you have been researching Social Security benefits, chances are that you’ve been able to dig up troves of Social Security myths that may have you doubting what your benefits actually entail or when they pay out. The truth is that the internet is bursting with misinformation. But we’ll debunk some of the most common myths surrounding Social Security benefits so you can move forwards in a positive, educated manner.
Myth: Your ex-spouse can decrease your benefits payout by taking theirs out early.
Fact: Actually, your spouse is not able to reduce your benefits or take away from them by cashing out theirs early. If you were married for 10 years or longer, they may have some access to them. If you do marry again in the future, you won’t be able to collect benefits from your previous spouse’s payout unless your new marriage were to end and or you have been divorced at least two years, and or your current spouse was deceased.
Myth: Working after you start collecting will cancel your benefits.
Fact: The reality is that you can start working as soon as you start collecting your Social Security income. However, if you start earning more than the predefined amount, this can decrease your benefits before you reach the full retirement age. But, you’d still be saving those benefits that do decrease until you were fully retired or had reached the full retirement age. After you do reach your full retirement age, your benefits cannot decrease no matter how much you continue to work.
Myth: You should always wait to take benefits because you’ll get more.
Fact: This all depends upon your situation. Generally speaking, this is true to some extent. But let’s say that you were not working but your higher income earning spouse was. It may actually make sense to tap into those benefits earlier on, in particular if your lower income earning spouse intends to wait until full retirement age to tap into his or her full benefits. The higher earning spouse can tap their benefits earlier on, while allowing the other’s benefits to age and mature to where the payout will be more.