The Viagra Benefit
One of the most commonly overlooked benefits is what commonly referred to as “The Viagra Benefit.â€ Stay with me — I once interviewed a family who used this to save $1,000 a month for their daughter’s college education.
1. Eligible dependents include:Â Biological children, adopted or stepchildren, or dependent grandchildren as long as the child is under 18-years-old.
2. Each qualified child in your family can receive up to half of your full benefit amount:Â Say you qualify for $2,000 a month. Your child can get $1,000.
3. Your child’s money does not reduce the size of your payments.
4. There is a limit:Â The total amount your family receives – including you and your children – is capped between 150 and 180% of your benefits – depending on when you were born.Â Â Say, for example, you qualify for a payment of $1,000 a month. The total benefits you and your family receive cannot exceed $1,500 – $1,800 under any circumstance.
5. You can, however, delay receiving your payments to avoid bumping up against those limits.
“That’s something that is becoming increasingly important now for people who are having children later in life,â€ says the Urban Institute’s Richard Johnson.
Matthew Allen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Social Security Advisors, says many of his clients are also surprised to learn that they can claim benefits after they’re divorced even if their ex has remarried.
1. To qualify, you must be 62-years-old.
2. Your marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.
3. The divorce has to be at least 2-years-old.
4. Your ex has to qualify for social security benefits, but does not have to be claiming them.
5. Your ex’s benefit has to be worth more than yours.
6. If you meet those guidelines, your benefit is equal to half of your ex’s: Â If she is eligible for $2,000 a month, you get $1,000, even if they remarry.
7. If ‘you’ remarry, all bets are off, unless your new marriage ends by death, divorce, or annulment.
“The two biggest mistakes most couples make is failing to coordinate spousal benefits and failing to claim benefits in the proper way so that it maximizes the survivor benefit for the surviving spouse. These two errors cost the average couple roughly $40k to $50k in lost spousal benefits and another $70k to $80k is lost survivor benefits. Â It really comes down to these two issues,â€ says Allen.
If you currently have a financial adviser, be sure to ask if she has training in Social Security planning.Â If not, you may want to find a financial professional who does.