SS_Medicare_flipbook_2017 - page 15

Maximizing Lifetime and Survivor Benefits
A married couple could potentially increase their lifetime benefits — as well as the benefits
of a surviving spouse — by claiming Social Security at different ages.
This example illustrates three hypothetical claiming scenarios for a married couple, Jane and Paul (both age
62). It looks at potential monthly and lifetime benefits, assuming that Paul dies at age 80 and Jane dies at age 90.
Monthly benefit assumptions, based on claiming age:
Jane:
$1,350 at age 62 or $1,800 at age 66
Paul:
$1,500 at age 62, $2,000 at age 66, or $2,640 at age 70
Although the couple’s combined benefits at the time of Paul’s death would be highest under Scenario 2,
the third scenario would provide the highest lifetime benefits if Jane were to live to age 90. Jane’s monthly
survivor benefit would be $1,500 under Scenario 1, $2,000 under Scenario 2, and $2,640 under Scenario 3 —
which translates to annual amounts of $18,000, $24,000, and $31,680, respectively.
This hypothetical example is used for illustrative purposes only. Actual monthly and lifetime benefits will vary.
Source:
Journal of Financial Planning
, October 2012
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3
Both Jane and Paul
claim benefits at age 62
Combined monthly benefits:
Years 1+:
$2,850
Total benefits:
$615,600
Monthly survivor benefit:
$1,500
Lifetime benefits:
$795,600
Jane claims benefits at age 62,
Paul waits until age 66
Combined monthly benefits:
Years 1 to 4:
$1,350
Years 5+:
$3,350
Total benefits:
$627,600
Monthly survivor benefit:
$2,000
Lifetime benefits:
$867,600
Jane claims benefits at age 62,
Paul waits until age 70
Combined monthly benefits:
Years 1 to 8:
$1,350
Years 9+:
$3,990
Total benefits:
$608,400
Monthly survivor benefit:
$2,640
Lifetime benefits:
$925,200
Paul dies at age 80
Jane dies at age 90
1...,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 16,17,18,19,20,21,22
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