A majority of married couples in their 60s lack the knowledge about how to maximize their Social Security benefits and whether or not to expect Social Security advice from a financial planner.

According to a recent survey of 532 married couples between the ages of 60 and 66 by SocialSecurityTiming.com, a company that provides retirement planning software, Social Security planning is becoming an expected service from financial planners. However, the vast majority of people are unaware of strategies that could increase their lifetime Social Security benefit by $20,000 to $40,000 or more.

Awareness of the various planning options available was more common among those wih higher incomes and net worth. People who expected financial planners to perform Social Security planning and analysis for them were more commonly those with higher incomes and net worth.

Seventy-four percent of people with household income exceeding $200,000 would expect to receive advice on Social Security benefit options from a financial planner, compared to only 48 percent of those with household incomes less than $50,000.

The survey found that 77 percent of the respondents expect to receive advice from the Social Security Administration on how to maximize their Social Security retirement benefits. However, most SSA personnel are not trained to provide more information than monthly benefit amounts at different election ages, and the SSA prohibits its representatives from dispensing advice.

Financial planners were the second most popular choice, with 56 percent of the survey respondents saying they would expect to receive Social Security advice from their financial planner.

-Michael Cohn Accounting Today