When is the Best Time to Collect Social Security?

People often wonder when they should start collecting social security benefits. You can start collecting 100% of your social security benefits at your full retirement age, which, if you were born in 1960 or later, is 67. If you wait a little longer, however, you can collect more per year, and if you take your benefits early, you’ll collect less.

At age 68 (assuming you were born in 1960 or later), you can get closer to 108% of your benefit, at age 69, 116%, and at age 70, when the benefit tops out, 124%. You can also take a reduced benefit starting at age 62. If you start collecting as early as possible, you’ll get about 70% of your full benefit. At age 63, you’ll get 75%, at age 64, you’ll get 80%, at age 65, you’ll receive 86.7%, and at age 66, you can collect 93.7%.

So when should you start collecting social security benefits? There are four things to consider when deciding when to take your benefits:

1. Do you need the money now? If you need the money to live at age 62, you’ll need to start collecting it then. That’s when and why most people start taking the benefit. If you don’t need the money to live, however, you’ll need to consider questions 2-4.

2. Do you plan to keep working? If the answer is yes, you don’t want to take your benefits until you at least reach full retirement age. If you take them early and keep working, Social Security will deduct $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over a certain amount of income.

3. What is your life expectancy? Do you have any health conditions? Do people in your family typically live for a long time, or die young? If you envision a long lifetime, you’ll want to wait to take benefits, because you’ll be losing years of increase in benefits. If you have a short life expectancy, you may want to start taking benefits early at age 62, so you don’t miss out on several years’ worth of benefits only to collect for a few years.

4. How much could you earn by investing the benefits if you took them early? You may not need the money to live on, but if you take the benefit, and then invest the full amount instead of spending it, you could potentially acquire a nest egg that is larger than the amount of extra benefits you would have received by waiting.

There is no one right time to take Social Security benefits, and it will depend on your circumstances. For more information on social security benefits, or for help calculating or applying for yours, visit the Social Security website.

Going Green: Things to Consider When Building Accessory Dwelling Unit

Home Living: Going Green

The majority of home improvement projects reduce the resale or market value of a home. That is not, however, the case with accessory dwelling units. They are considered to be tools in the fight against climate change. Many of the people who are willing to make the investment in building ADU’s consider themselves to be environmental enthusiasts. ADU’s are more likely to add resourcefulness to property than a traditional renovation.

What is a Green Home?

A green home is a type of domicile created for the sole purpose of being environmentally friendly. The primary focus of green homes is to maintain sufficient use of building materials, water preservation, and energy conservation. Ideally, green homes should be healthier for the people living inside of it, compared to a standard home.

Benefits of Going Green

The benefit of green homes is that any home can be made into one or renovated later. ADU’s that have been constructed with environmentally friendly materials tend to be more robust and expensive to build. This is due to the number of high-quality building materials and rigorous construction processes they undergo.

People who live in green homes save more each month than those who live in traditional homes. People living in green homes also used significantly less energy and water in comparison to those who lived in standard homes.

Living in green homes could also mean a reduction in healthcare costs. For example, living in an eco-friendly home could mean fewer visits to the doctor. With the increasing number of insurance companies offering to discount policies that cover green homes, it’s safe to say that living in a green home can also cut back on insurance cost.

The Process

Building an eco-friendly home is a skill that changes consistently as more advancements in technology are made. With scientific breakthroughs emerging, the process you undergo to build a green dwelling today may be different for your neighbor tomorrow.

Building an ADU in Portland exclusively with environmentally eco-friendly materials does not have to be expensive. This is a process you can complete yourself, all at once, or over time. You can do this by building on your own land and adopting reuse practices. You may also want to consider installing energy efficient windows and environmentally friendly lighting.

If you go through a construction company, you may find that this can be an expensive process. Architects and traditional construction companies tend to charge additional fees to cover the amount of time spent researching the information needed to complete this type of process.

Green Home Building Companies

If you are able to partner with a green home building company, it will be a benefit in the long run. These type of companies save you time and money in the building process because of the amount of knowledge they have in this particular field.

These companies are considered low maintenance in operation as some of their practices include using rainwater as an alternative measure when installing plumbing fixtures. The purpose is to reduce water waste. They also ensure that no trash makes it into landfills. This is especially beneficial for the environment and ensures your ecological footprint leaves less of a mark.

How Social Security Determines if You’re Disabled

How Social Security Uses a Five-Step Process to Determine If You’re Disabled.

Are you working?

If you’re currently employed, and your earnings average more than a specific amount every month, the SSA typically will not classify you as being disabled. The certain amount varies yearly. If you’re not working, or your monthly earnings average meets or is lower than a certain amount, the SSA then proceeds to evaluate your medical condition.

 

Is your medical condition “severe”?

For you to meet the criteria necessary to be considered disabled, your medical condition has to be undoubtedly creating the inability for you to complete typical work tasks such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting and memory for a minimum of 12 months. You will not meet the Social Security’s definition of disabled if the medical condition isn’t severe enough. If your medical condition is truly severe, the SSA goes on to step 3.

 

Does your impairment(s) meet or medically equal a listing?

The SSA has a list of impairments or listings which describe medical conditions that qualify as sufficiently severe to stop a person from doing basics activities without considering age, education, or work experience. If your medical condition(s) cannot be found on the list, the SSA evaluates your condition is as severe as another condition on the list. If your condition severity meets or equals the severity of an already listed condition, the SSA will then determine that you have a qualifying disability. If your condition still does qualify as a severe impairment, the SSA will continue to step.

 

Can you complete previous work?

The SSA determines if your medical condition(s) stops you from completing previous work at this step. If it does not, the SSA decides you do not have a qualifying disability. If it does, the SSA will go on to step 5.

 

Can you complete other work?

If you cannot complete previous work, the SSA determines if there is another occupation you can work in despite your condition(s). They take into account your age, education, previous work experience, and any particular skills that could prove useful in another job. If you can’t complete other work, the SSA will decide that you are disabled. If you can, then the SSA will determine that you do not have a qualifying disability.