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Avoiding Costly Mistakes with Your Social Security Benefits

David Sexton

srpthumb-p818-450x260-no.jpgKnowing when to file for your Social Security benefits isn't always easy for some people to decipher.  The Social Security program has many rules that can cost people a lot of money if they make a mistake.  It is best to research and understand your options prior to doing anything to prevent costly mistakes.  Here is more from a Forbes affiliate:

Hidden deep within the 2,728 rules in Social Security's Handbook and the thousands upon thousands of explanations of those rules contained in its Program Operating Manual System are a number of very nasty Catch 22s. My company's software program - Maximize My Social Security was developed to make sure people neither get caught in Social Security's traps or leave huge sums on the table because they don't understand its Byzantine provisions.

Here is my list of Social Security's worst gotchas. I want to be clear that the system, not the people in Social Security, is generating these gotchas. No one in Social Security is intentionally trying to get any of us to make the wrong decisions or end up with lower benefits than possible. But over the years, the rules governing benefit determination have become so convoluted and indecipherable that even the people working at the local Social Security offices routinely get things wrong.

1. Social Security's website gives the impression that your spousal benefit is half of your partner's primary insurance amount (PIA), also called your full retirement benefit. But this is true only if a) you don't qualify for a retirement benefit on your own or b) you reach full retirement age having never filed for Social Security and, at that point, apply only for your spousal benefit.

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