Social Security Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

Social Security Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

June 8, 2020

Filing for Social Security can be a minefield for making mistakes in Montgomery County, TX. More seniors are declaring bankruptcy now than ever, and part of that has to do with making mistakes about taking out Social Security payments. Seniors are often eager to retire, but not timing your filing just right can result in a hit to your monthly income. Suddenly, the amount you were counting on per month is significantly lower, debts pile higher and the only choice looks like filing for bankruptcy.

If you want to avoid declaring bankruptcy in Montgomery County, TX, read these tips. If you still need to declare bankruptcy, be sure to call James R. Jones, Attorney at Law for more information about the bankruptcy process:

  • Know your full retirement age: Just because you are ready to retire doesn’t mean that the Social Security Administration agrees. The agency has designated a “full retirement age” based on your birth year. If you hold off to take out benefits until your full retirement age, you’ll get the maximum amount to which you’re entitled. Not knowing what that age is means you could be subjecting yourself to hefty penalties when it’s not necessary.
  • Remember that filing early means losing money: Some people want or need to file early, even if it means receiving less money each month. That’s your right—but be aware that it adds up fast. Taking out Social Security just five years before full retirement age can remove 30 percent from your monthly payments. Social Security is notoriously small anyway, so do your best to avoid cutting those checks down any further.
  • Check statements for errors: Each year, the Social Security Administration sends each eligible citizen a statement of their expected benefits. Many people don’t check this statement for errors, but that can be a costly mistake. For example, sometimes the wage listed is lower than your actual wage, and since the payment is based on your 35 highest-paid years on the job, you want it to reflect the higher, more accurate number. You could be losing out on tens of thousands of dollars—or more—if you don’t check your statements each year. Conversely, Social Security overpayment also happens in Montgomery County, TX, and you don’t want to find yourself owing the government for months or years of overpayments.

Still need to declare bankruptcy? Before you take the plunge, call an attorney for assistance. Many states and counties offer self-help options for seniors, like credit counseling and payment plans for utilities. There are even state and federal programs for helping pay mortgages and other loans.

You might consider liquidating your assets, but that, too, requires an attorney for best results. Liquidating assets without expert advice could lead to higher tax burdens than you can afford, which will put you in an even more precarious situation than before.

Ultimately, you should stay on top of your Social Security as much as possible and call an attorney in Montgomery County, TX for assistance when it looks like bankruptcy is your only option. James R. Jones, Attorney at Law can help—call today for a consultation.

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