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Money Expert Ryan Nickel

Social Security Disability and Retirement

Question:

I am 65 years old and will be 66 in July, when I can start collecting my Social Security. My wife and I adopted a girl who is now 9 years old. Her mother could not take care of she is on state disability for bipolar problems and is no relation to us. I was told by a friend that I might be able to not only collect my SS, but that I would be able to collect half of her SS each month also. It has been more expensive than we thought to pay for her schooling, etc., etc., and I would like to know how I should go about doing this. My wife is 61 and won't start taking SS for 5 or 6 more years. She is retired. Thanks for any input you may have.

Answer:

Since you have asked for "any" input I will give you the input that will best serve you at this time. Social Security is set up so you can start drawing on it at age 62. If you draw on it at age 62 you will get 75% of your benefits. At age 66 is when the full benefits kick in. You're currently 65 and will be 66 in July and your wife is 61.
 
Most economists suggest that married couples should start to receive their SS when the husband is 66 and the wife 62. This way their checks will be the largest during both of their lifetimes. I do not suggest this for you at this time.
 
Here's why. You've adopted a young girl who is now 9. In 5 years she'll be 14 and starting high school and want to be with friends. You'll want to bond with her as much as possible before then.
 
If your daughter has been diagnosed as bipolar, then you are able to collect SSI for her. All you have to do is call the the SS office to file your application by phone. The number is 1-800-772-1213.
 
This would be the best route for you to take. Her SSI will supplement your household income until your wife will be able to take her full benefits at age 66. I suggest this as the best route to follow. It will ensure that you have the maximize amount of income possible for her high school years. Best wishes...
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