To get the most out of Social Security benefits, it is very important that older Americans understand how the system works, before they start to get benefits. An alarming number do not.
On the surface, Social Security is a fairly simple concept to grasp. People pay into it, while they are working. When they retire, they then get paid benefits that are based on their income, when they were working. This seems simple enough. However, what the federal government does is often not that simple.
Social Security is actually a very complex system with all sorts of different rules people can use to get the most out of it. People need to understand what those rules are, as Financial Advisor discusses in "Nearly Half of Americans Still Don't Understand Social Security."
In a recent survey, 47% percent of respondents over the age of 50 were unable to correctly answer a series of true/false questions about Social Security benefits. This could be a potential problem, because it means that they might not get what they need out of the system, when they retire. The Social Security Administration is supposed to assist people with this. However, it can do little more than tell people what their options are when asked.
A good way to learn how to get the most out of Social Security for yourself, is to visit an elder law attorney. The attorney can help you understand how to get the maximum amount of benefits per month and how to weigh that against getting the maximum amount of total benefits in your lifetime.
Reference: Financial Advisor (May 18, 2018) "Nearly Half of Americans Still Don't Understand Social Security."