Women currently represent more than half of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older and two-thirds of all beneficiaries over the age of 85. Because women usually live longer, and because they are more likely to live alone due to widowhood or divorce, they need to pay special attention to the rules and regulations regarding Social Security. Actually, they need to have a professional review of their situation before filing, because that decision to file is basically a permanent decision. Statistics show for unmarried women 65 and older including widows, nearly half of their income is from Social Security benefits, and for elderly unmarried women age 85 and older, 90% of their income is from Social Security benefits.

Available benefits for women are as follows: as a worker or spouse of a worker that qualifies for benefits, as a widow or surviving divorced spouse, as a divorced spouse, or as the caregiving spouse of a worker’s minor or disabled child. The Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015 changed the rules in many areas and beneficiaries need to understand which benefit to take first and what the possible consequences would be for each option.

We experienced so many errors in this Survivor Benefits area, we felt it necessary to visit some of the Funeral Homes in the Jackson, MS area to share with them the REAL rules regarding Survivor Benefits. They were very grateful for the education. Widowers are told (not with any harm intended) that they need to look at their Survivor Benefits as soon as possible.   Yes, look at them, but not necessarily take them. You need to weight the options….possibly taking yours first, at the appropriate age, then draw the Survivor Benefit at the appropriate age, or vice-versa depending on the higher income outcome. Tax consequences, Earnings Limitations, and Delayed Retirement Credits should be reviewed to work in your favor to make the best decision. And if you are divorced, were married at least 10 years and are still single, you add a whole new layer to the equation.

Again, ladies heed this warning…..this benefit is for the rest of your life. 10,000 Boomers are retiring each day and 40% regret the decision they made. Please, get this right!!

Roy and Diane Thompson are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. Their guidance and direction will make a difference for you and your family. You may contact Pillars LLC on our website at www.pillarsllc.com or email at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or simply give us a call at 601-954-0699. We are located in Corinth, MS but assist clients throughout the United States.

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