The Right Time to Claim Social Security Benefits

Making the decision of the age of claiming social security benefits can be difficult. Should you do it as soon as you retire or wait longer so that you can get larger monthly checks? It is important to consider your options before you make your move because once you do it, there is no going back. Here’s how you can decide….

Social Security Retirement Options

You have three options when deciding. You can either opt to receive the benefits early (at 62), at full retirement, or after. The age of full retirement varies according to the year you were born. So, just a ballpark, full retirement may be between 65 and 67.

  • Claiming before Full Retirement – If you claim social security benefits immediately after turning 62, you stand to receive 20% less than you would have if you did at full retirement age. However, although the payments are smaller than when you wait till, after full retirement, you receive the payments for a longer period.
  • Claiming at Full Retirement – Now you are eligible and you can withdraw your social security benefits. But, it may be better if you waited till after the full retirement age.
  • Claiming after Full Retirement – If claiming social security benefits after full retirement, waiting till 70, increases your retirement benefits by a certain percentage. This way you stand to earn higher monthly payments, although these payments may not be for as long as when claiming social security before full retirement.

Based on this information, you may decide to wait till 70 is the right answer. However, there are several factors that need to be considered when making the decision. For example, consider your health and life expectancy, financial requirements, tax liabilities, etc. Married seniors should look into spouse benefits. Sometimes, you may be entitled to a certain amount on your retired spouse’s benefits and you may also be able to put in a claim for spousal benefits at full retirement age.

If you are earning when eligible or after claiming social security benefits, your monthly benefits may be reduced if and when you earn a limited amount.

You also need to know, sometimes, depending on the state, you may have to pay tax on your benefits depending on the annual total received.

It is not easy deciding on the right time to claim social security benefits. All you can do is consider your needs and go with the best option.

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