January 4, 2014
For many elder law clients, Social Security benefits represent a very large portion of their post-retirement income. Because of the way that the system has changed since it was originated in 1935, it is extremely complex. Literally hundreds of amendments have been made in the nearly 80 years since the Social Security Act. It may just take an experienced elder lawyer to wade through the options with you.
And just what kind of options are you looking at? There are a lot of them to consider. While there is certainly good information to be learned from others who have already been through the process, it could be a big mistake to simply take someone else’s word about what is the best approach to take. After all, what is right for one family or individual may not be best for another.
For example, did you know that you might not have to quit working entirely in order to begin collecting Social Security benefits? A lot of people are not aware of this, and it can have a huge impact on their income levels. There are at least four ways that a person can take his or her Social Security, and that’s just for those who are not married. Married couples find that they have a total of 16 different options. Again, having an elder lawyer go over all of the options is a good way to maximize the options available to you.
Speaking of married couples, chances are that the wife will survive the husband and then be eligible for his Social Security benefits. This is very important, as almost a quarter of widows and other single female seniors live below the poverty line. For this reason alone, the responsible thing is for a couple to spend a little time with the elder lawyer or estate planning attorney in order to put together a comprehensive plan that will cover either spouse in the event that the other passes away.
While self-sufficiency is certainly an important part of our culture, decisions regarding retirement and estate planning are some that really should be informed by a knowledgeable professional. Elder law lawyers in Sacramento are well-versed on how Social Security works and are able to provide solid advice on how to get the most of what you deserve. In this day and age, it’s pretty simple to get on the Social Security Administration’s web site and start submitting requests without having enough background information and knowledge to make the best choices.
When it comes to Social Security and things like Medi-Cal benefits in California, there is too much at stake to risk not hiring an elder lawyer. Whether you will be living strictly off of your Social Security benefits, or they will be used in other ways as a part of your long-term retirement plans, this is not an area to take lightly.