Navigating the Social Security system

ISHPEMING — Social Security can be a complicated system for retirees to navigate. ABC 10 spoke with Jonathan Peterson, the author of the second edition of Social Security for Dummies, to find out a few helpful hints for those diving into the system.

Social Security is a dependable building block for a retirement plan, but Peterson recommended supplementing that plan with savings and other income.

“Ideally, it is not the only income that a person has to draw upon when they get older,” Peterson said, “but Social Security can be a foundation that you can plan on, and if you think a little bit about the rules that affect the Social Security benefit, this is going to be income for an older person that is protected against inflation. It lasts as long as you live, and it does not go up and down with Wall Street.”

Peterson mentioned that it may pay for those looking to cash in on benefits to wait a little longer.

“If you were able to wait all the way to age 70, which is the last age that it makes sense to wait, you’d end up with a benefit that’s 76 percent higher than the benefit that you get at age 62,” added Peterson, “but even if you can’t wait to age 70, the point is that you will get a larger benefit if you can afford to wait.”

Peterson’s book attempts to be as clear and simple as possible, but he also encourages people to visit the AARP or Social Security websites to learn more about the benefits available.