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6 Social Security Myths that could make or break your retirement planning



Your marital status should have an important role when you decide to take benefits.

If you are married, beginning benefits earlier will also reduce the potential spouse or survivor benefits your husband or wife will receive.

Delays claiming benefits until age 70 could result in an increase of between 40 and 50 percent in benefits for surviving spouses, according to Jones. Meanwhile, the average duration of widowhood is 11 years, he said.

"It is much more likely that a spouse will live a substantial amount of time without the other," Jones said.

If you were born Before January 2, 1954, and have full retirement age, you can get a spousal benefit and allow your own benefits to grow. Then you can disconnect for your larger benefit later.

Those who were born after that date, however, no longer have the ability to employ that strategy, due to changes in Social Security rules made by Congress.

Divorced spouses can still obtain benefits in their ex's work record, provided they have been married for at least 10 years and are at least 62 years of age. But if you remarry, you will no longer be eligible for those benefits.

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