Invest Wisely

How to Maximize Social Security Benefits for Single Individuals

by Mark Sander5 min read
Maximize Social Security Benefits for Single Individuals

There is a common belief that when singles retire, they get less Social Security benefits compared to their married or even divorced counterparts. One reason behind it is that there is only one income stream for single earners when they retire. On the other hand, married people are able to get double social security benefits. They may get these benefits from two separate outlays that comes from each spouse’s individual income file or a single spousal benefits payment scheme that is also based on earnings.


Singles should aim to have a steady and secure income stream when they retire. Social Security can provide that. Reports show that 43% of single Americans who are 65 years old and above rely on their Social Security benefits. In fact, 90% of their income upon retirement comes from SSA checks.


If you are a single individual, here are some useful strategies to help you maximize and make the best out of your social security benefits:

1. Claim benefits at full retirement age

The earliest age when an individual can be a recipient of Social Security retirement benefits is 62 years old. Wage earner’s retirement benefit is significantly reduced the earlier they avail of their retirement income. In fact, if you want to receive money at 62 years old, the benefit you get will be significantly reduced to 75%.

The trick is to hold off on claiming SSA checks for as long as possible and file for benefits at full retirement age. Full retirement age is around 66 or 67 years old. If you file at this age, you will be able to get the entire amount of your entitlement. It will not be reduced. However, the opposite of that is that if you go beyond your full retirement age without getting your benefits, there is a penalty of 8% off the full entitlement for every year that you hold off. In case you decide to hold off collecting Social Security money until you’re 70 years of age, there will be a 32% in your monthly payment.


2. Compensate for years of low income

Your social security benefits are based solely on how much you earn during your working years, which is 35 highest years of receiving income. The story of our working lives is almost the same: we started out with a small salary and worked our way up until we earn more. If you’re earning more during your later years, hold on to the same position for a few more years in order to compensate for your low income years.


3. Make sure that you get a well-deserved raise during your working years

Since you now understand that your retirement benefits are directly proportional to the income you earn during your working years, you should fight for a raise, especially when you have compelling proof that you are not being paid fairly or justly by your employer.


As a single person, it is important to have a retirement strategy while you’re earning so that you will reap your rewards in the future. Following these tips to boost your social security benefits will give you financial ease and security.