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303-200 LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0 - 2023 benefits |

303-200 benefits - LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0 - 2023 Updated: 2024

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Exam Code: 303-200 LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0 - 2023 benefits January 2024 by team

303-200 LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0 - 2023

Exam Title :
LPIC-3 Security

Exam ID :

Exam Duration :
90 mins

Questions in exam :

Passing Score :
500 / 800

Exam Center :
LPI Marketplace

Real Questions :
LPI LPIC-3 Real Questions

VCE VCE exam :
LPI 303-200 Certification VCE Practice Test

Topic 325: Cryptography

325.1 X.509 Certificates and Public Key Infrastructures

Weight: 5

Description: Candidates should understand X.509 certificates and public key infrastructures. They should know how to configure and use OpenSSL to implement certification authorities and issue SSL certificates for various purposes.
Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand X.509 certificates, X.509 certificate lifecycle, X.509 certificate fields and X.509v3 certificate extensions

- Understand trust chains and public key infrastructures

- Generate and manage public and private keys

- Create, operate and secure a certification authority

- Request, sign and manage server and client certificates

- Revoke certificates and certification authorities

The following is a partial list of the used files, terms and utilities:

- openssl, including relevant subcommands

- OpenSSL configuration





325.2 X.509 Certificates for Encryption, Signing and Authentication

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should know how to use X.509 certificates for both server and client authentication. Candidates should be able to implement user and server authentication for Apache HTTPD. The version of Apache HTTPD covered is 2.4 or higher.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand SSL, TLS and protocol versions

- Understand common transport layer security threats, for example Man-in-the-Middle

- Configure Apache HTTPD with mod_ssl to provide HTTPS service, including SNI and HSTS

- Configure Apache HTTPD with mod_ssl to authenticate users using certificates

- Configure Apache HTTPD with mod_ssl to provide OCSP stapling

- Use OpenSSL for SSL/TLS client and server tests

Terms and Utilities:

- Intermediate certification authorities

- Cipher configuration (no cipher-specific knowledge)

- httpd.conf

- mod_ssl

- openssl

325.3 Encrypted File Systems

Weight: 3

Description: Candidates should be able to setup and configure encrypted file systems.
Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand block device and file system encryption

- Use dm-crypt with LUKS to encrypt block devices

- Use eCryptfs to encrypt file systems, including home directories

- PAM integration

- Be aware of plain dm-crypt and EncFS

Terms and Utilities:

- cryptsetup

- cryptmount

- /etc/crypttab

- ecryptfsd

- ecryptfs-* commands

- mount.ecryptfs, umount.ecryptfs

- pam_ecryptfs

325.4 DNS and Cryptography

Weight: 5

Description: Candidates should have experience and knowledge of cryptography in the context of DNS and its implementation using BIND. The version of BIND covered is 9.7 or higher.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understanding of DNSSEC and DANE

- Configure and troubleshoot BIND as an authoritative name server serving DNSSEC secured zones

- Configure BIND as an recursive name server that performs DNSSEC validation on behalf of its clients

- Key Signing Key, Zone Signing Key, Key Tag

- Key generation, key storage, key management and key rollover

- Maintenance and re-signing of zones

- Use DANE to publish X.509 certificate information in DNS

- Use TSIG for secure communication with BIND

Terms and Utilities:

- DNS, EDNS, Zones, Resource Records


- DO-Bit, AD-Bit


- named.conf

- dnssec-keygen

- dnssec-signzone

- dnssec-settime

- dnssec-dsfromkey

- rndc

- dig

- delv

- openssl

Topic 326: Host Security

326.1 Host Hardening

Weight: 3

Description: Candidates should be able to secure computers running Linux against common threats. This includes kernel and software configuration.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Configure BIOS and boot loader (GRUB 2) security

- Disable useless software and services

- Use sysctl for security related kernel configuration, particularly ASLR, Exec-Shield and IP / ICMP configuration

- Exec-Shield and IP / ICMP configuration

- Limit resource usage

- Work with chroot environments

- Drop unnecessary capabilities

- Be aware of the security advantages of virtualization

Terms and Utilities:

- grub.cfg

- chkconfig, systemctl

- ulimit

- /etc/security/limits.conf


- chroot

- sysctl

- /etc/sysctl.conf

326.2 Host Intrusion Detection

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should be familiar with the use and configuration of common host intrusion detection software. This includes updates and maintenance as well as automated host scans.
Key Knowledge Areas:

- Use and configure the Linux Audit system

- Use chkrootkit

- Use and configure rkhunter, including updates

- Use Linux Malware Detect

- Automate host scans using cron

- Configure and use AIDE, including rule management

- Be aware of OpenSCAP

Terms and Utilities:

- auditd

- auditctl

- ausearch, aureport

- auditd.conf

- auditd.rules


- chkrootkit

- rkhunter

- /etc/rkhunter.conf

- maldet

- conf.maldet

- aide

- /etc/aide/aide.conf

326.3 User Management and Authentication

Weight: 5

Description: Candidates should be familiar with management and authentication of user accounts. This includes configuration and use of NSS, PAM, SSSD and Kerberos for both local and remote directories and authentication mechanisms as well as enforcing a password policy.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand and configure NSS

- Understand and configure PAM

- Enforce password complexity policies and periodic password changes

- Lock accounts automatically after failed login attempts

- Configure and use SSSD

- Configure NSS and PAM for use with SSSD

- Configure SSSD authentication against Active Directory, IPA, LDAP, Kerberos and local domains

- Kerberos and local domains

- Obtain and manage Kerberos tickets

Terms and Utilities:

- nsswitch.conf

- /etc/login.defs


- chage


- faillog


- sssd

- sssd.conf

- sss_* commands

- krb5.conf

- kinit, klist, kdestroy

326.4 FreeIPA Installation and Samba Integration

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should be familiar with FreeIPA v4.x. This includes installation and maintenance of a server instance with a FreeIPA domain as well as integration of FreeIPA with Active Directory.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand FreeIPA, including its architecture and components

- Understand system and configuration prerequisites for installing FreeIPA

- Install and manage a FreeIPA server and domain

- Understand and configure Active Directory replication and Kerberos cross-realm trusts

- Be aware of sudo, autofs, SSH and SELinux integration in FreeIPA
Terms and Utilities:

- 389 Directory Server, MIT Kerberos, Dogtag Certificate System, NTP, DNS, SSSD, certmonger

- ipa, including relevant subcommands

- ipa-server-install, ipa-client-install, ipa-replica-install

- ipa-replica-prepare, ipa-replica-manage

Topic 327: Access Control

327.1 Discretionary Access Control

Weight: 3
Description: Candidates are required to understand Discretionary Access Control and know how to implement it using Access Control Lists. Additionally, candidates are required to understand and know how to use Extended Attributes.
Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand and manage file ownership and permissions, including SUID and SGID

- Understand and manage access control lists

- Understand and manage extended attributes and attribute classes

Terms and Utilities:

- getfacl

- setfacl

- getfattr

- setfattr

327.2 Mandatory Access Control

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should be familiar with Mandatory Access Control systems for Linux. Specifically, candidates should have a thorough knowledge of SELinux. Also, candidates should be aware of other Mandatory Access Control systems for Linux. This includes major features of these systems but not configuration and use.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand the concepts of TE, RBAC, MAC and DAC

- Configure, manage and use SELinux

- Be aware of AppArmor and Smack

Terms and Utilities:

- getenforce, setenforce, selinuxenabled

- getsebool, setsebool, togglesebool

- fixfiles, restorecon, setfiles

- newrole, runcon

- semanage

- sestatus, seinfo

- apol

- seaudit, seaudit-report, audit2why, audit2allow

- /etc/selinux/*

327.3 Network File Systems

Weight: 3

Description: Candidates should have experience and knowledge of security issues in use and configuration of NFSv4 clients and servers as well as CIFS client services. Earlier versions of NFS are not required knowledge.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand NFSv4 security issues and improvements

- Configure NFSv4 server and clients

- Understand and configure NFSv4 authentication mechanisms (LIPKEY, SPKM, Kerberos)

- Understand and use NFSv4 pseudo file system

- Understand and use NFSv4 ACLs

- Configure CIFS clients

- Understand and use CIFS Unix Extensions

- Understand and configure CIFS security modes (NTLM, Kerberos)

- Understand and manage mapping and handling of CIFS ACLs and SIDs in a Linux system

Terms and Utilities:

- /etc/exports

- /etc/idmap.conf

- nfs4acl

- mount.cifs parameters related to ownership, permissions and security modes

- winbind

- getcifsacl, setcifsacl

Topic 328: Network Security

328.1 Network Hardening

Weight: 4
Description: Candidates should be able to secure networks against common threats. This includes verification of the effectiveness of security measures.
Key Knowledge Areas:

- Configure FreeRADIUS to authenticate network nodes

- Use nmap to scan networks and hosts, including different scan methods

- Use Wireshark to analyze network traffic, including filters and statistics

- Identify and deal with rogue router advertisements and DHCP messages
Terms and Utilities:

- radiusd

- radmin

- radtest, radclient

- radlast, radwho

- radiusd.conf

- /etc/raddb/*

- nmap

- wireshark

- tshark

- tcpdump

- ndpmon

328.2 Network Intrusion Detection

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should be familiar with the use and configuration of network security scanning, network monitoring and network intrusion detection software. This includes updating and maintaining the security scanners.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Implement bandwidth usage monitoring

- Configure and use Snort, including rule management

- Configure and use OpenVAS, including NASL

Terms and Utilities:

- ntop

- Cacti

- snort

- snort-stat

- /etc/snort/*

- openvas-adduser, openvas-rmuser

- openvas-nvt-sync

- openvassd

- openvas-mkcert

- /etc/openvas/*

328.3 Packet Filtering

Weight: 5
Description: Candidates should be familiar with the use and configuration of packet filters. This includes netfilter, iptables and ip6tables as well as basic knowledge of nftables, nft and ebtables.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Understand common firewall architectures, including DMZ

- Understand and use netfilter, iptables and ip6tables, including standard modules, tests and targets

- Implement packet filtering for both IPv4 and IPv6

- Implement connection tracking and network address translation

- Define IP sets and use them in netfilter rules

- Have basic knowledge of nftables and nft

- Have basic knowledge of ebtables

- Be aware of conntrackd

Terms and Utilities:

- iptables

- ip6tables

- iptables-save, iptables-restore

- ip6tables-save, ip6tables-restore

- ipset

- nft

- ebtables

328.4 Virtual Private Networks

Weight: 4

Description: Candidates should be familiar with the use of OpenVPN and IPsec.

Key Knowledge Areas:

- Configure and operate OpenVPN server and clients for both bridged and routed VPN networks

- Configure and operate IPsec server and clients for routed VPN networks using IPsec-Tools / racoon

- Awareness of L2TP
Terms and Utilities:

- /etc/openvpn/*

- openvpn server and client

- setkey

- /etc/ipsec-tools.conf

- /etc/racoon/racoon.conf
LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0 - 2023
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LPIC-3 exam 303: Security, version 2.0
Question: 54
Which of the following commands adds a new user usera to FreelPA?
A. useradd usera --directory ipa --gecos *User A"
B. idap- useradd --H ldaps://ipa-server CN=UserA --attribs "Firstname: User: Lastname:
C. ipa-admin create user --account usera -_fname User --iname A
D. ipa user-add usera --first User --last A
E. ipa-user- add usera --name "User A"
Answer: D
Question: 55
Which of the following keywords are built-in chairs for the iptables nat table? (Choose
THREE correct answers)
Answer: A, D, E
Question: 56
Which of the following statements are true regarding the certificate of a Root CA?
A. It is a self-signed certificate.
B. It does not include the private key of the CA
C. It must contain a host name as the common name.
D. It has an infinite lifetime and never expires.
E. It must contain an X509v3 Authority extension.
Answer: A, B, E
Question: 57
Which DNS label points to the DANE information used to secure HTTPS connections to
C. soa.example com
E. _443_tcp.www
Answer: E
Question: 58
Which of the following database names can be used within a Name Service Switch
(NSS) configuration file? (Choose THREE correct answers).
A. host
B. shadow
C. service
D. passwd
E. group
Answer: A, C, E
Question: 59
Which of the following commands changes the source IP address to for all
IPv4 packets which go through the network interface eth0?
A. iptables ~t nat -A POSTROUTING ~o eth0 -j SNAT -to-source
B. iptables ~t nat -A PREROUT1NG -\ eth0 -j SNAT -to-source
C. iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING H eth0 -j DNAT -to-source
D. iptables -t mangle -A POSTROUTING -i eth0 -j SNAT -to-source
E. iptables -t mangle -A POSTROUTING -0 eth0 -j SNAT -to-source
Answer: A
Question: 60
What option of mount.cifs specifies the user that appears as the local owner of the files
of a mounted CIFS share when the server does not provide ownership information?
(Specify ONLY the option name without any values or parameters.)
Answer: uld=arg
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LPI Security, benefits - BingNews Search results LPI Security, benefits - BingNews Social Security: Here's Exactly How Much Your Benefits Will Go Up in 2024 No result found, try new keyword!Social Security is a major source of income for millions of older adults, and many people rely on their benefits heavily in retirement. In fact, around 1 in 5 adults age 50 and older have no other ... Sun, 03 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-us text/html Social Security Benefits Are Increasing in 2024, but They Might Not Go Further. Here's Why.

By now, you've probably heard that the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2024 is 3.2%. It might not sound like much, but it's actually above average. The typical retired worker will see their checks rise by $59 per month, and some will get much more.

But for many, this boost might fall short of what they need to cover their expenses next year. Below, we'll take a look at why, and what seniors can do if they're worried about making ends meet.

Two people at table with paperwork and laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

How Social Security COLAs are calculated

The whole idea of a Social Security COLA is to help seniors' checks keep pace with rising costs, so it makes sense that the government bases its COLAs on the rate of inflation. More specifically, it looks at the percent change in third-quarter pricing data from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This gives the price for a bundle of common goods and services many of today's workers use.

On the face of it, this makes sense -- until you learn that there's a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) that many argue better reflects the spending habits of seniors 62 and older. Had the government used this to calculate Social Security COLAs instead, the average senior would've taken home an extra $3,787.80 over the past 10 years, according to the Senior Citizens League. It found that calculating COLAs using the CPI-E nearly always resulted in a higher COLA than the current CPI-W method.

Social Security benefits have lost approximately 36% of their buying power since 2000, according to the Senior Citizens League, and this trend will likely continue. Though there are those in government calling for a change to COLA calculations, there doesn't appear to be any movement on this issue right now.

One possible reason for this is Social Security's solvency crisis. The most latest estimates indicate that Social Security's trust funds will be depleted in 2034. After this date, it will only be able to pay out about 80% of scheduled benefits moving forward -- unless the government takes steps to increase the program's funding.

So while shifting to the CPI-E for COLA calculations would benefit seniors in the long term, it could exacerbate this funding issue. With no plan currently in place to ensure Social Security's longevity, larger COLAs could just move up the timeline for benefit cuts. That could hurt seniors even more in the long run.

For now, we can only wait to see how the government will address Social Security's solvency issues and whether it will make changes to COLA calculations at that time. Until then, it's up to each beneficiary to figure out how to make their checks go as far as possible.

How seniors can supplement their Social Security checks

Ideally, seniors would have a large nest egg they could use to supplement their Social Security checks, but many don't. Those still working can rely upon their job's income to help them cover their living costs. Reducing spending might also be an option for some families.

But when those things aren't possible or sufficient, you may have to explore what other types of government benefits you may qualify for. Supplemental security income (SSI) is a good one for seniors to look into.

These benefits are available to low-income adults 65 and older, and to blind and disabled people. The Social Security Administration pays these checks monthly. The maximum federal SSI benefit in 2024 is $943 per month for an individual and $1,415 per month for a couple. Many states throw in an additional benefit on top of this. But the real amount you'll receive depends on your household income and resources.

Seniors can also look into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), or the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for grocery assistance, or Medicaid for healthcare assistance. Those who aren't eligible for Medicaid or health insurance through a job could also look into purchasing a policy under the Affordable Care Act.

Check with your state and local government as well for assistance with other essential costs, like utilities and housing. Keep in mind that each program has its own eligibility requirements, and it can take time for the programs to review your application.

It's ultimately up to each person to figure out a strategy that will work for them going forward. If you haven't already, you should receive a COLA notice this month listing your new Social Security benefit for 2024. Once you have this, you can begin to plan your budget for next year.

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Social Security Benefits

With another four years of Bidenomics, you can be certain that, at the individual and corporate level, a perpetuity tax on Social Security will become front and center.

Social Security beneficiaries are set to receive a 3.2% payment bump in 2024, but many recipients say the increase is not enough to offset high inflation.

Social Security checks are increasing next year thanks to the annual cost of living adjustments (COLA). However, the standard monthly cost of Medicare Part B will increase by $9.80, or 6%, to $174.70 in 2024, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Five Republican presidential candidates sparred during the third debate in Miami on Wednesday over how best to Boost the solvency of Social Security.

The Great Recession diminished the retirement savings potential of late Boomers, a study found. And cost adjustments to Social Security could be smaller next year.

Open enrollment is an annual period during which people can sign up for health insurance or change their plans.

A new ranking of world retirement systems conducted by Mercer gave the U.S. a C+ grade, citing concerns over its efficacy and long-term sustainability.

The 2024 Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase aligns with early estimates based on inflation figures for the previous three months.

The Social Security Administration on Thursday announced the cost-of-living adjustment for 2024 as retirees continue to confront unusually high inflation.

The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2024 is expected to be announced this week, and beneficiaries may be in store for a smaller increase.

Social Security could run out of money to make full benefits payments in 2033, spurring as much as $23,000 in benefits cuts for retirees, a study found. Here’s what you need to know.

Social Security's trust funds are projected to be depleted by 2033, at which point retirees would see a significant cut to their benefits if the program isn't reformed.

The Social Security cost of living adjustment could increase to 3.2% in response to high inflation. But it’s far from the 2023 record raise and many Americans still struggle to generate retirement income.

Social Security recipients will soon find out what their cost-of-living adjustment is for 2024 – and the bump may be bigger than previously projected.

The average price of 25 prescription brand name drugs with the highest Medicare D spending increased by 226%, AARP reported. But provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act aim to lower the costs of Medicare coverage for retirees.

The 2024 Social Security COLA could rise to 3%, according to a Senior Citizens League estimate. That would be a drop from the 2023 adjustment of 8.7%. But retirees have options to reach a comfortable retirement.

Older Americans that retired before 2000 would have to earn an extra $516.70 more per month to maintain the same level of buying power as in 2000, according to a latest The Senior Citizens League study.

Most Americans (88%) said it is critical to have another source of guaranteed income beyond Social Security benefits to have a comfortable retirement, according to a latest Allianz Life survey.

The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment could be 3% in 2024, a big drop from last year, amid signs that high inflation is beginning to moderate.

A latest poll found that the majority of American adults are opposed to cutting Medicare or Social Security benefits. More than half are against raising monthly premiums for Medicare.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 02:42:00 -0500 en-US text/html
What Happens to Social Security Benefits When You Die? No result found, try new keyword!Social Security benefits serve as financial support for many Americans, providing a safety net during retirement. While the paychecks continue during your lifetime, it’s important to understand ... Fri, 29 Dec 2023 14:07:00 -0600 How Are Social Security Spousal Benefits Calculated?

If you're eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, how much you'll receive depends on a number of factors, including your age, the amount of your spouse's benefit, and whether you have other retirement benefits available to you. Who's eligible? Anyone whose spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse was or is eligible for benefits, once you have reached the age of eligibility, is eligible.

The maximum amount you can receive is 50% of your spouse's full benefit. That's straightforward enough, but the precise amount you'll get and when you'll get it depends on several circumstances, including your spouse's age and work history, your own age and work history, and more. That leaves some room for you to maximize the amount you receive. And, remember, if that amount is less than the amount you'd get based on your own work history, you'll automatically get the higher amount.

Below, you'll find out if you qualify for Social Security spousal benefits and how to find out the amount you'll get. And, you'll learn the fate of a couple of once-popular spousal benefits loopholes in the Social Security rules. (Hint: It's not good news.) Nevertheless, if you know the rules highlighted in this article, you'll be able to maximize your Social Security spousal benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of the other spouse's full benefit.
  • You may be eligible if you're married, formerly married, divorced, or widowed.
  • You can collect spousal benefits as early as age 62, but in most cases, the benefits are reduced permanently if you start collecting early.
  • If your own work history earns a higher benefit, you'll receive that amount rather than the spousal benefit.
  • In 2015, the federal government changed the rules on filing for Social Security spousal benefits, eliminating some claiming strategies that allowed couples to increase their benefits.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Spousal Benefits?

If your spouse has filed for Social Security benefits, you can also collect benefits based on the spouse's work record, if:

  • You are at least 62 years old.
  • Regardless of your age, if you care for a child who is entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record, and who is under age 16 or disabled.

When you apply for spousal benefits, you will also be applying for benefits based on your own work history. If you're eligible for benefits based on your own earnings, and that benefit amount is higher than your spousal benefit, that's what you'll get. If it is lower, you'll get the spousal benefit.

Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia 2020

How Spousal Benefits Are Calculated

Spousal benefits are based on how much the other spouse would receive if that person began collecting benefits at the full or "normal" retirement age.

The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that can show you what percentage of your spouse's benefits you will be eligible for depending on your own age when you start receiving benefits.

The short answer to the calculation is this: You're eligible for half of your spouse's benefit amount as long as you wait until your full retirement age to apply. The earlier you file, the less you'll get.

Full Retirement Age

As you might expect, the "normal" retirement age is becoming later in life, but the changes to the Social Security rules are being phased in. It is age 66 for those born between 1943 and 1955. It increases gradually to age 67 for those born from 1955 to 1960. For those born after 1960, it's 67.

A Social Security online calculator shows you the percentage of your spouse's benefits you will get, based on your age when you apply.

No matter when your spouse actually retires, or if your spouse dies, that person's "normal" benefit amount is relevant to you in calculating your spousal benefit entitlement.

Claiming Early or Late

Your spousal benefit is based upon your partner's "normal" benefit amount. But the amount you receive will depend upon when you begin to claim it.

You can claim spousal benefits as early as age 62, but you won't receive as much as if you wait until your own full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you choose to claim spousal benefits at 62, you'd receive a benefit that's equal to 32.5% of your spouse's full benefit amount.

The amount increases with each year you delay. At your full retirement age (67 in this example) you'd be eligible for the maximum, which is 50% of your spouse's full benefit.

Notably, spousal benefits are not reduced if the spouse is caring for a child who qualifies under the age or disability rules. Spousal benefits can never exceed 50% of the other spouse’s full benefit. So, there is no incentive to file for spousal benefits later than your own full retirement age.

An ex-spouse may be eligible for spousal benefits even if the former spouse hasn't retired yet.

If You're Receiving Other Retirement Benefits

The calculation gets a bit more complicated if you are eligible to receive benefits from a government pension or foreign employer that is not covered by Social Security. In that case, you may still be eligible, but the amount will be reduced.

For example, if you have a government pension for which Social Security taxes are not withheld, the amount of your spousal benefit is reduced by two-thirds of the amount of your pension. This is known as a government pension offset.

For example, suppose you are eligible to receive $800 in Social Security spousal benefits and you also get $300 from a government pension each month. Your Social Security payment is reduced by two-thirds of $300, or $200, making your total benefit amount from all sources $900 per month ($800 - $200) + $300).

Same-Sex Married Couples

Same-sex married couples have enjoyed the same rights as all other couples since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling affirming their constitutional rights to marriage recognition. And that means they're eligible for Social Security spousal and dependent benefits.

Social Security also recognizes some non-marital legal relationships such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The Social Security site urges spouses to apply for benefits if they think they may be eligible.

Divorced and Widowed Spouses

The rules for Social Security spousal benefits for divorced and widowed people are complex in order to cover all conceivable circumstances.

Spousal Benefits for Divorced Spouses

If you're divorced, you may be eligible for spousal benefits based on your ex-spouse's work record. The rules are much the same, plus:

  • Your marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.
  • You must currently be unmarried.

If your former spouse hasn't filed for benefits yet, you can still file for spousal benefits if you have been divorced for at least two years.

If your ex-spouse is still living, in most cases you must be at least 62 years old and your spouse must be old enough to qualify for benefits. (Whether the ex-spouse is actually taking benefits or not doesn't matter.)

If your ex-spouse has died, your benefits are similar to those of a widow or widower.

Spousal Benefits for Widows and Widowers

A widow or widower can receive up to 100% of a spouse's benefit amount. That's if the survivor has reached full retirement age at the time of the application.

The payment is reduced to somewhere between 71% and 99% of the deceased's entitlement if the widowed person is at least 60 but under full retirement age.

Disabled people can apply as early as age 50. The agency has a streamlined application process to avoid delays in the first payment.

You may be eligible for benefits even if your spouse died long before reaching retirement age. Every employee racks up annual Social Security "credits" for working. If your spouse earned credits for at least 10 years, a spousal benefit has been earned.

It's important to note that it pays to hold off until you reach your "full" retirement age to maximize the amount you will receive.

Also, if you are receiving spousal benefits and your spouse dies, you need to notify Social Security. Your spousal benefit of 50% of your partner's benefit will convert to a survivor benefit of 100%.

And do it promptly. It's not usually retroactive.

Spousal Benefits Loopholes

You may hear or read about other ways to increase the amount of your spousal benefit. Unfortunately, under new Social Security rules, two popular strategies have been abolished.

The File and Suspend Strategy

Prior to 2016, workers could file for benefits (making their partners eligible to claim spousal benefits), then suspend their own benefits in order to maximize their credits for deferred filing. This so-called file and suspend strategy meant that a lower-income partner could take advantage of spousal benefits while the primary earner accrued delayed retirement credits, thereby increasing their benefit amount.

However, this "have your cake and eat it, too" loophole was closed with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which took effect in April 2016.

While it is still possible to file for benefits and then suspend payments temporarily, any other benefits that would normally be available on your account (such as spousal benefits) are no longer payable during such suspensions.

Deemed Filing

The 2015 law also stopped people born after Jan. 1, 1954, from double-dipping by claiming spousal benefits while accruing delayed retirement credits on their own accounts.

Previously, it was possible for those eligible for both types of benefits to claim spousal benefits first, while delaying a claim on their own account, a process sometimes called a restricted application. This allowed taxpayers to benefit from the earlier spousal payment while maximizing their own benefits through delayed retirement credits.

Under current law, spouses born after Jan. 1, 1954, are deemed to have filed for any and all benefits for which they are eligible as soon as they file for any of them. The payments they receive are based on whichever benefit amount is the highest.

Strategies for Maximizing Spousal Benefits

Every married couple has to figure out the best way to maximize their benefits depending on their own circumstances.

The three strategies below will help you make the most of your Social Security spousal benefits, depending on your circumstances. However, keep in mind that, regardless of your circumstances, the most a spouse can get is 50% of the amount that the higher-earning partner is entitled to at full retirement age.

1. Strategy for Late Claimers

If one partner has little or no earnings history, the best strategy is for the wage earner to postpone applying for Social Security retirement benefits until age 70 to get the highest amount possible. Full retirement age is 66 for most baby boomers and 67 for everyone born in 1960 or later, but by delaying claiming benefits until age 70, the wage-earner will accrue delayed retirement credits that will increase the monthly payments by 8% for each year of delay.

Keep in mind that this won't affect the spousal benefit amount. Spousal benefits differ from personal benefits when it comes to delaying payments. If you delay claiming for personal retirement benefits past full retirement age, the benefit increases over time, as explained above. However, that will have no impact on your spouse's benefits, since they max out at full retirement age (66 to 67). In other words, there is no benefit for your spouse in delaying the spousal benefit claim past your full retirement age.

On the other hand, if both partners work, and their earnings are more or less equal, their individual Social Security benefits will each be greater than the spousal benefit, so the best strategy for both is to postpone applying for benefits until age 70.

2. Strategy for Divorced Spouses

If you have been divorced for at least two years, you can apply for spousal benefits if your marriage lasted 10 or more years. If, on the other hand, you are still married and considering a divorce, and are near retirement age, try to apply for spousal benefits before your divorce is final. If you have been married and divorced multiple times, you can choose to receive whichever spousal benefit is highest. Saving your ex-spouses’ Social Security numbers and dates of birth will make the enrollment process easier.

3. Strategy for Widowed Spouses

Widows and widowers may receive full benefits at their full retirement age or reduced benefits as early as age 60, as explained in the sections above. Remarrying after age 60 will not affect your eligibility for survivors benefits. However, it may be more convenient for you to forego your widow or widower spousal benefits depending on your circumstances.

If your current spouse is also eligible for Social Security benefits and earns more than your former spouse, you may wish to apply for spousal benefits based on your new spouse’s record instead.

If you are collecting a survivor benefit, but also qualify for a benefit on your own, you may wish to collect a survivor benefit in the early years of retirement and leave your own Social Security benefits to accrue delayed retirement credits. Then, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as late as age 70.

How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits Work?

You're eligible for spousal benefits if you're married, divorced, or widowed, and your spouse is or was eligible for Social Security. Spouses and ex-spouses generally are eligible for up to half of the spouse's entitlement. Widows and widowers can receive up to 100%.

You can claim benefits based on your own work history or on that of your spouse. You'll automatically get the larger amount. (It's one or the other. You don't get both.)

If you are no more than three months away from age 62, you can apply online or by phone. If you plan to put off applying to get the largest payment possible, wait until you're no more than three months from full retirement age. That's 66 or 67, depending on your year of birth.

Can I Collect Half of My Spouse's Social Security at 62?

Not quite. The percentage of your spouse's Social Security that you receive starts at 32.5% at age 62 and steps up gradually to 50% at your full retirement age, 66 or 67, depending on your year of birth. The amount is based on your spouse's benefit at full retirement age.

The important point is this: Don't bother delaying past your full retirement age. The amount you receive won't grow beyond that age.

What Is the Maximum Spousal Social Security Benefit?

The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of the amount that the spouse is eligible to receive at full retirement age. That's a cap, by the way. If your spouse delays retiring until 70, the spouse gets more, but you don't.

Survivors may receive up to 100% of the deceased person's Social Security amount. There's a complicated formula for families in which more than one dependent is eligible for benefits. It caps the maximum.

How Can I Switch From My Social Security Benefit to a Spousal Benefit?

You can only switch from your benefit to the spousal benefit if your spouse has begun receiving retirement benefits and you are at least 62 years old (or are caring for a qualifying child).You can claim your benefit based on your work history until your spouse files, and then you can switch to the spousal benefit. However, if you're not at your full retirement age, you'll get paid a reduced spousal benefit, which can be as low as 32.5% of your spouse's primary insurance amount.

To monitor your benefits or change them, you can create an account on the Social Security site. It contains a wealth of information, and it allows you to make some changes online, although others require a phone call.

The Bottom Line

Maximizing your spousal Social Security benefits is all about the timing, and the timing is determined by your circumstances as a couple.

If both partners work, they should investigate what each partner's individual benefit will be. Unless one partner earns massively more than the other, it will probably pay for both to file individually, waiting at least to full retirement age, if not to age 70, if possible.

Correction—Feb. 14, 2022: A previous version of this article misstated the amount of the spousal benefit for a spouse retiring early at age 62.

Correction—Oct. 4, 2022: A previous version of this article misstated the timing of benefit eligibility for a spouse.

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 13:27:00 -0600 en text/html
Is Delaying Social Security Benefits Still A Good Deal?

A friend of mine recently started his Social Security benefits at age 66, justifying his decision because interest rates have risen recently from virtually zero to the four percent range. That made me question if the conventional wisdom still applies: This wisdom says that for most people, delaying the start of Social Security benefits as long as possible, even to age 70, is the best approach from a purely financial perspective.

To determine if that’s still the case, it’s important to understand the significance of the so-called “real” interest rate—the rate you can earn on guaranteed investments after adjusting for inflation. But inflation has also risen significantly at the same time as interest rates. As a result, real interest rates haven’t increased as much as the real interest rates have.

When analyzing the financial advantage of a Social Security claiming strategy, it’s essential to take the real interest rate into account because Social Security benefits give you important protection against inflation. This was evidenced by the latest 8.7% increase that applied to benefits paid during 2023.

Two experts weigh in

Because Social Security claiming strategy analysis is complex, I asked two experts via email for their views. Let’s start with Mike Piper, author of an excellent book, Social Security Made Simple. He says, “The fact that real interest rates have increased significantly over the last year does push the math in the direction of filing earlier. But the push isn't large enough for most people. For an unmarried person, it's still slightly advantageous to delay filing for benefits, though not as advantageous as it was in latest years. For the higher earner in a married couple, it's still generally very advantageous to delay—all the way until 70, ideally. For the lower earner in a married couple, it's usually not advantageous to delay.”

Wade Pfau, a respected retirement researcher and the author of The Retirement Planning Guidebook, agrees. “While the case for delaying Social Security weakens as interest rates rise, it is still quite strong,” he notes. “Long-term TIPS yields are still around 1.5%, while the 1983 Social Security reforms that created the delay credits to be actuarially neutral assumed a 2.9% yield.”

Both Piper and Pfau noted that interest rates are just part of the analysis: You also need to consider the protection that Social Security benefits provide against the risk of living a long time. Although the thought of living a long time may be appealing, it happens to be a serious financial risk that deserves your attention.

When considering when to start Social Security benefits, Piper adds, “…critically, the above is only dealing with the math of maximizing spending over the household's "expected" lifetime(s). Delaying benefits also has the important effect of reducing longevity risk. That is, delaying filing reduces the risk of outliving your money, because delaying works out well in the live-a-long-time scenarios.”

MORE FROM FORBESThe Most Serious Financial Risk Facing Retirees

Pfau agrees: “…people are living longer today, and for couples, the high-earner's benefit lasts for the lifetime of two individuals. The odds of benefiting from the insurance value of delaying Social Security are much greater than 50% for reasonably healthy individuals.”

Social Security protects against being old and poor

I agree with both Piper and Pfau—Social Security benefits protect against being very old and very poor. I know several older relatives and friends who claimed Social Security as early as they could, with the lowest possible benefit. Now they’re in their late 80s and struggling financially. Often these people are widows (it’s often the wife who survives the husband). If the husband has been the primary wage earner of the couple, delaying his Social Security benefit as long as possible is one way he can show his wife how much he cares for her.

By the way, Piper has developed a tool you can use to help determine the best claiming strategy given your situation. It’s called Open Social Security, and it’s an excellent, free, online system that does all the complex math for you, taking into account current real interest rates.

OpensocialsecurityOpen Social Security

The friend I mentioned at the beginning of this post happens to be single and has some health issues. As a result, it’s possible he might have made a good decision to start his benefits at age 66, considering Piper’s comment above about outliving your money.

On a personal note, I’ll be starting my Social Security benefit on May 1 of this year at age 70. It feels great to have been able to wait for the maximum longevity protection it will offer to both my wife and me. By working part time at work I enjoyed, I was able to delay my benefit and have ample time to enjoy my extracurricular activities. I earned enough through my part-time work to replace the Social Security benefit I was delaying, so I wasn’t missing out on income that I needed. My plans and patience have paid off!

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 07:15:00 -0600 Steve Vernon en text/html
How to Claim Social Security Survivor Benefits No result found, try new keyword!The Social Security Administration sends survivor benefits to about 6 million Americans every month. These payments are directed to family members of workers who have passed away. A widow ... Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:27:00 -0500 Can I Switch a Social Security Benefit to a Spousal Benefit?

can i switch from my social security benefit to a spousal benefit

Social Security benefits can provide you with a stream of retirement income that is reliable. Deciding when to take benefits is an important question, especially if you’re married and hope to qualify for spousal benefits. If you’re already taking Social Security, you might be wondering if it’s possible to switch to a spousal benefit later. The answer depends on whether your spouse is receiving Social Security benefits yet.

A financial advisor can help you figure out what you qualify for and when the best time is for you to start taking benefits as part of your full retirement plan.

How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits Work?

Calculating Social Security benefits as a married couple is a bit different than doing it as a single person. When someone files for Social Security benefits, their spouse may be able to claim a spousal benefit. The benefit is based on their spouse’s contributions to Social Security and is capped at 50% of their benefit amount at full retirement age. For example, if they were to receive $2,200 per month at full retirement age, their spousal benefit would max out at $1,100 per month.

In order to receive spousal Social Security benefits, you must:

  • Be at least 62, the earliest age at which you can receive Social Security benefits OR

  • Be a caretaker for a child under age 16 or a child who’s receiving Social Security disability benefits

  • Be married for at least one year to someone who has filed for their retirement benefits

When you apply for spousal benefits, the Social Security Administration calculates your benefits based on your own work and earnings record as well. If you’re eligible to receive your retirement benefit as well as spousal benefits, then you’d get the higher of the two.

If your spouse hasn’t filed for retirement yet, then you can’t get spousal benefits. You can, however, file for your own retirement benefits if you’re at least 62 years old.

Taking Social Security at age 62 will reduce your benefit amount, below the amount you’d be entitled to if you had waited until you reached full retirement age. Delaying benefits until age 70, on the other hand, increases your benefit amount.

If you’re claiming spousal benefits and filing before your full retirement age, then your benefit amount would be roughly 30% instead of 50%. The only exception is if you’re claiming spousal benefits and you’re a caretaker for a child under 16 or a child with disabilities.

Can I Switch My Social Security Benefit to a Spousal Benefit?

Switching from your regular retirement benefit to a spousal benefit is something you might be interested in if you’re hoping to maximize Social Security benefits. Whether you can make this switch is determined by whether your spouse is already receiving benefits.

If your spouse is not receiving any retirement benefits yet, then you could technically take your regular Social Security benefit as early as age 62. When your spouse files for their benefit later you could switch to spousal benefits. That could potentially increase the total amount of benefits you receive as a couple if they’re waiting until age 70 to start taking benefits.

What if your spouse is already receiving their Social Security benefits? In that situation, the deemed filing rule applies. That rule dictates that when someone applies for their regular retirement benefit, they’re also approved for spousal benefits if they’re entitled to receive them. So again, you’d get the higher amount of the two.

If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Deemed Filing and Spousal Benefits

can i switch from my social security benefit to a spousal benefit

The Social Security Administration implemented the deemed filing rule to prevent double-dipping. Prior to the rule, if spousal benefits were higher than an individual benefit, the person could receive a combination of benefits equal to the higher benefit. Deemed filing keeps spouses from receiving one type of retirement benefit while also benefiting from delaying another type of benefit.

There are some exceptions to this rule, which would still allow you to apply for spousal benefits independent of your own retirement benefit. You might be eligible for an exception if you:

  • Were born before January 2, 1954

  • Are caring for a child under 16 or a child with disabilities

  • Are eligible for Social Security disability benefits

If you’ve already taken your retirement benefits and your spouse is receiving a spousal benefit, they can opt to switch over to their retirement benefit instead if they were born before January 2, 1954. In that situation, you could then apply for an additional spousal benefit on top of your regular benefit once their benefits kick in.

When Should You Claim Spousal Benefits?

Timing matters when deciding when to claim spousal benefits. Again, taking benefits before full retirement age can reduce the number of benefits that you’re eligible to receive. However, delaying spousal benefits beyond full retirement age won’t increase the benefit amount, the way that it would regular retirement benefits.

When deciding how to time spousal benefits or retirement benefits, it helps to look at the bigger picture and consider:

  • Life expectancies and how long you and your spouse anticipate relying on Social Security benefits

  • Health and the possibility of one or both of you needing long-term care at some point

  • Other income sources, including investments, a 401(k) or IRA or money earned from part-time work or side jobs

  • Retirement budget and estimated expenses

Living longer, for example, might make delaying Social Security benefits more attractive. On the other hand, if you don’t have sufficient savings and investments then you might need the additional income that Social Security can provide sooner rather than later.

If you’re confused about when to take spousal benefits or whether you can switch your retirement benefit to spousal benefits, talking to a financial advisor can help. An advisor who’s well-versed in Social Security planning can help you to decide on the right time to claim those benefits.

The Bottom Line

can i switch from my social security benefit to a spousal benefit

It’s possible to switch your Social Security retirement benefit to spousal benefits if your spouse hasn’t filed yet. Whether it makes sense to do so can depend on your current ages and the ages at which each of you filed for benefits.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer you can delay filing for Social Security the better, as it can result in a larger benefit amount.

Retirement Planning Tips

  • Consider talking to your financial advisor about switching from your retirement benefit to spousal benefits if your spouse has plans to claim their own benefits. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be difficult. With SmartAsset’s free tool, matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

  • Talking to your advisor can also help you to come up with a strategy for coordinating Social Security alongside other sources of income, such as a pension plan, annuity, 401(k) or government retirement benefits. Deciding when to tap into each income stream can affect your tax situation so it’s important to understand the best order for drawing down assets. An advisor can also offer advice on how to claim Social Security benefits as an ex-spouse if you’re now divorced.

©, ©, © Stanojkovic

The post Rules for Switching Social Security Benefits appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Fri, 29 Dec 2023 21:12:00 -0600 en-US text/html
A Shock for Many Retirees: Social Security Benefits Can Be Taxed

Jennie Phipps, a semiretired writer and editor, had once been married to a certified public accountant. When she retired, she thought she was well prepared for any taxes she might face.

Ms. Phipps, 72, said that her annual income consisted of money withdrawn from an individual retirement account, about $50,000 from Social Security and $20,000 from a pension. She also earns some money from part-time work. But when she first started drawing Social Security benefits, she got a shock: Federal income taxes were due on 85 percent of those benefits.

“It’s not that I didn’t know about the tax, but in my head I didn’t calculate it,” she said. “I’m always surprised at the end of the year by how much tax I owe.”

Ms. Phipps, of Punta Gorda, Fla., isn’t the only one who has been caught off guard.

“A lot of people who don’t work with a financial adviser are very surprised to find out that Social Security benefits can be taxable,” said Luis Rosa, a certified financial planner in Los Angeles. “Then they have to take more money out of their I.R.A.s to compensate for the difference, and it becomes a never-ending cycle of taking money out to pay taxes and then paying taxes on that money. It’s not good.”

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