Home > Blog > How Seniors Can Maximize Their Social Security Disability, Auxiliary, Retirement, or Survivors’ Benefits

How Seniors Can Maximize Their Social Security Disability, Auxiliary, Retirement, or Survivors’ Benefits

Those who have reached or who are nearing retirement age understand the importance of living on a budget. If you are a senior citizen who has become disabled, you may not know whether to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or whether to go ahead and get your Social Security retirement started. You can apply for retirement benefits when you are 62, but your monthly benefit amount will be reduced because you are receiving benefits before you reach your full retirement age.

If you receive disability benefits, you will get your full benefits even when you switch from your disability benefits to your retirement benefits later. So, if you have found yourself unable to work because of medical problems as you near your retirement age, it is better to go ahead and apply for disability benefits. That way, you will continue to get your full benefits and will not end up getting reduced payments. The additional funds can make a significant difference in your overall financial situation. The funds you receive from SSDI can cover the cost of living in a senior community.

How to Handle Auxiliary or Survivors’ Benefits

If you receive auxiliary or survivors’ benefits, you will want to maximize your benefits. If you have been married, or if you were married in the last year, you might be able to receive spousal benefits. If you decide to take spousal benefits, the amount you receive is based on your spouse’s full benefits, your personal work history, and when you start receiving payments. If you have been married at least a year or if you were married at least 10 years then divorced for longer than two years, you can receive as much as 50 percent of your spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you start receiving benefits early, it can reduce your payments.

However, if you have a good work history, you will either receive your own benefit or your spousal benefit – whichever pays more. Auxiliary benefits are payable if your spouse is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The amount received is based on the claimant’s SSDI benefits. You cannot receive auxiliary benefits from a spouse and then draw your own retirement benefits at the same time, but by taking auxiliary benefits, you can wait to start drawing your own benefits when you reach full retirement age and would be eligible to receive the full amount.

Choosing Wisely

You should review all the options and determine which kinds of benefits you would be eligible for. If you can receive auxiliary benefits or SSDI, you should take those benefits until you reach full retirement age. That way, you will be able to maximize your benefits and get more money in the long run. Most seniors live on a fixed income, so you will want to make sure you are getting the funds that you need to cover living expenses and medical needs. You can learn more by visiting the SSA website at www.ssa.gov, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting a Social Security field office near you.