On January 26, 2022, Elaine Simmons, partner with Social Security Informed, delivered an enlightening presentation to L.M. Kohn reps to inform them how to advise their clients to take full advantage of their Social Security benefits. The following are some little known facts from this presentation.

  • If an individual dies before retirement age without withdrawing from their Social Security, the SSA deems the individual to have reached full retirement age upon their death.
  • Waiting until 70 for retirement has huge benefits. Individuals who claim Social Security benefits at age 65 lose 8 percent growth for 5 years. It would be nearly impossible to invest the money early and make the same return, even after paying taxes.
  • One of the biggest mistakes made by married people is to claim Social Security benefits after one spouse retires while the other continues to work. This makes the retired spouse’s benefits taxable.
  • Individuals can claim full Social Security widow/widower benefits regardless of the age of their spouse at death.
  • Surviving spouses whose marriage lasted at least 9 months can claim widow/widower benefits if they have not remarried before age 60.
  • Many advisors make the mistake of triggering the Winfall Elimination Provision by telling clients to transfer funds from their optional retirement plans into a 401k.
  • A deceased ex-spouse’s benefits are sometimes more comprehensive than the Social Security benefits the surviving spouse is currently receiving.