What To Consider When Deciding The Best Age For Social Security Benefits
Youll receive reduced monthly benefits permanently if you start taking them before you reach full retirement age. And the reductions arent small. This breakdown summarizes how much you can lose depending on when you get your retirement benefits:
- Benefits are reduced by 30% if you opt to start receiving benefits just five years early.
- If you wait until you full retirement age youll receive 100% of your benefits.
- You can also elect to postpone benefits beyond full retirement age, up until you are 70.
- The monthly amount you will receive in the future increases each month you wait to start receiving benefits.
- If you can wait until the last possible month, your check will be 132% of the full retirement benefit.
For a fuller comparison, this table from the Social Security Administration shows how much you could get if you retire at age 62 based on your birth year:
|Social Security Administration Early Retirement at Age 62|
So, its almost always best to delay Social Security benefits for as long as you can. If you plan to work in retirement, youll definitely want to delay. Youll face a penalty if you continue to work after you claim early retirement benefits and earn more than the yearly earnings limit, which for 2020 is $18,960. This means that the Social Security Administration will deduct $1 from benefits for every $2 that you earned over $18,960.
Timing And Your Health Coverage
Your health insurance coverage can also play a role in deciding when to claim Social Security benefits. Do you have a health savings account to which you would like to keep contributing? If so, note that if youre age 65 or older, then receiving Social Security benefits requires you to sign up for Medicare Part A, and once you sign up for Medicare Part A, youll no longer be allowed to add funds to your HSA.
The SSA also cautions that even if you delay receiving Social Security benefits until after age 65, you might still need to apply for Medicare benefits within three months of turning 65 to avoid paying higher premiums for life for Medicare Part B and Part D. If you are still receiving health insurance from your or your spouses employer, however, then you might not yet have to enroll in Medicare.
On March 17, 2020, all Social Security offices were closed completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Aug. 5, 2021, they are only open by appointment, and to get an appointment, you need to be in a limited, critical situation. Most people will have to transact their business online, by phone, or through the mail.
Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.
You May Like: Social Security Estimated Payments
How Long Does It Take To Get Your First Social Security Check
Social Security retirement benefits are available to American workers who have paid into the system throughout their working years. Originally established after the Great Depression, Social Security is a supplemental retirement program designed to ensure retired citizens have some level of income from which to live after they stop working.
Social Security benefits make it possible for all individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security fund to count on a benefit check that will provide income to cover living expenses and other financial needs once they are retired.
Give me my check!
For many people Social Security is the only retirement benefit that they can count on, while others will add this income to distributions from other retirement accounts they have funded throughout the years. Here we take a closer look at some common questions asked about Social Security retirement benefits.
The Second Best Choice
Single Social Security claimants who want to hold off until age 70, but find they cant quite wait any longer should select age 69 for the best trade off, according to Christopher Jones, chief investment officer at Edelman Financial Engines.
That sacrifice may be as little as a few thousand extra dollars in additional lifetime benefits in exchange for starting a year earlier, according to Jones.
If youre single, well tell you you should wait until 70, Jones said. It is generally preferable to do so.
“But its not quite as critical as it is going from 66 to 67, or 67 to 68.
In a low interest rate environment, it’s hard to beat the potential increases for every year you delay claiming your benefits, Jones said.
Thats a guaranteed real rate of return backed by the federal government, Jones said. You cant get real rates of return at 6% to 8% right now not even close in the marketplace.
Also Check: Age Full Social Security
What If I Take Benefits Early
If you choose to receive your Social Security check up to 36 months before your full retirement age, be aware that your benefit is permanently reduced by five-ninths of 1% for each month.
If you start more than 36 months before your full retirement age, the benefit is further reduced by five-twelfths of 1% per month, for the rest of retirement.
For example, lets assume that you stop working at age 62. If your full retirement age is 66 and you elect to start benefits at age 62, the reduced benefit calculation is based on 48 months. This means that the reduction for the first 36 months is 20% and 5% for the remaining 12 months. Overall, your benefits would be permanently reduced by 25%.
No : Your Surviving Spouse Might Thank You
When one member of a married couple passes away, the surviving spouse can often get the higher of the couple’s two Social Security benefits. While the surviving spouse might be able to live on less than the two could live on as a married couple, the loss of income from going down a benefit could still be financially painful.
In addition to the direct loss of money, a widow or widower soon loses the ability to file taxes jointly. That means that any remaining income might be exposed to higher taxes, which could make a tough situation even tougher.
As a result, consider who you may leave behind once you pass and what your passing will mean for their financial well-being before deciding when to collect your Social Security benefit. Waiting a bit could make an incredible difference to someone you love.
Don’t Miss: When Can You Get Social Security At What Age
Eligibility Requirements For Divorced Spouses
Before you can receive benefits on your ex-husbands Social Security work record, you must meet all of the following spousal-benefit eligibility requirements: your ex is entitled to Social Security retirement benefits your marriage lasted at least 10 years you are unmarried youre at least 62 years old, and the benefit youre entitled to on your own work record is less than the benefit youd receive on your exs record. If your ex-husband hasnt applied for benefits yet, but qualifies for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his record if youve been divorced from him for at least two years and meet all of the requirements listed above.
Before You Make Your Decision
There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is your benefit will be reduced. Each person’s situation is different. It is important to remember:
- If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit.
- That there are other things to consider when making the decision about when to begin receiving your retirement benefits.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Need To Apply For Social Security Benefits
Social Security Disability Programs
In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits to people who are disabled or blind.
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program
- SSDI supports disabled or blind individuals by providing benefits based on their workers contributions to the Social Security trust fund. Your contributions are based on your earnings or your spouses or parents earnings while in the workforce. Your dependents may also be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings.
- Supplemental Security Income Program
- SSI benefits are paid out as cash assistance to people with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind or disabled. These benefits may also include blind or disabled children. SSI payments are a federal benefit funded by the general fund of the United States not the Social Security trust fund. Some states provide additional state supplemental benefits in addition to the federal SSI payments.
In some cases, people may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these concurrent benefits. This can happen when a disability qualifies you for Social Security Disability Benefits, but you only get a small amount of monthly SSDI benefits. This may qualify you to receive SSI benefits as well.
Comparing SSDI and SSI Programs
|Up to 85%|
Income Taxes for Other Benefit Programs
Can A Person Who Is Due A Public Pension Also Collect Social Security Benefits
Two rules could reduce benefits for people who are also entitled to a public pension on earnings not covered by Social Security.
One rule is the windfall elimination provision , which applies to people who worked at jobs covered by Social Security but also worked as noncovered government employees and are due a pension.
When it is time to claim benefits, many people are unprepared for these cuts, Mr. Blair said. Possible W.E.P.-related reductions are not reflected in the workers Social Security statement, which shows the history of annual earnings and estimates of future benefits only for jobs covered by Social Security.
You can have someone who looks at the Social Security statement and it shows a benefit of $1,000 at full retirement age, Mr. Blair said. But the individual a teacher who is due a public pension, for example may be surprised later if the benefit is much lower, he said.
In addition to W.E.P. reductions, a government pensioner who applies for a Social Security spousal or survivor benefit can face reductions. The government pension offset reduces those benefits by two-thirds of the government pension.
Pensioners are exempt from the W.E.P. offset if they paid into Social Security for 30 years or more in jobs with substantial earnings .
Read Also: What Is Social Security Amount Based On
You Already Have Your 35 Highest
Your Social Security benefits are based on your earnings in the 35 years that you had the most compensation. If you’re in your peak earning years, you could boost your benefits if you keep working a few more years and delaying your benefits. However, if you aren’t going to increase your average earnings, such as if you’re only working part-time or you’ve had to retire early, you won’t miss out on the chance to boost your benefits with higher earning years. However, you’ll still receive a smaller benefit for not waiting until full retirement age.
At What Age Should You Start Collecting Social Security
If you apply for benefits at your full retirement age, you will receive the maximum amount possible. But any earlier application will receive deductions on the full benefit. The earliest you can apply for social security is age 62, but that age will also see the most substantial reductions. For example, consider an individual with a full retirement age of 67. This individual can apply to receive benefits at age 62, but there will be reductions because the benefits will be provided for a longer time than someone applying at the full retirement age. However, if this person waits until age 67, then there would not be any reductions. The closer you are to your full retirement age when you apply, the less substantial the reductions on the benefits are. The chart below shows the reduction on social security for someone applying at the age of 62. Find your birth year in the left-hand column and trace across that row to discover what a $1000 benefit would be reduced to. The reduction percentage of the benefits vary, but they are smaller the closer you are to the full retirement age.
Recommended Reading: Full Benefits Social Security Age
When Is The Best Time To File For Social Security Benefits
Reading time: 3 minutes
Deciding the age at which you will begin to collect Social Security is likely to be a big factor in your retirement planning. Many retirees look forward to the day that they can apply for the benefits theyve spent their whole careers paying for. However, if you have a substantial nest egg and dont need the extra funds immediately, it may be in your best interest to wait a few years before claiming your benefits.
Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Supplemental Security Income helps people who are unable to earn sufficient wages on their own. It is available to adults with disabilities, children with disabilities and people 65 or older. Individuals with enough work history may be eligible to receive SSI in addition to disability or retirement benefits. The amount individuals receive varies based on their other sources of income and where they live.
Retirement Age For Those Born After 1937
Year Born 1960 or later 67 years
The system does provide for early retirement at age 62, but also offers higher benefits for people who wait to make their claims after reaching full retirement age. For more information, see Nolo’s article Social Security Benefits: Retirement, Disability, Dependents, and Survivors.
How To Apply For And Start Collecting Social Security
Collecting social security is an intricate, but necessary part of retirement. The funds provide retired individuals with a steady income after their working days are over. However, the timing and regulations behind social security can be frustrating. The rules are plentiful and the explanations are not always clear. The United States Social Security Administration examines your age, current place of employment , and family situation before dictating the level of your benefit. Read on for some of the basic and important topics to consider before applying for social security. Use the information in this article as a resource to select the optimal time to begin collecting benefits.
Youre Only Working Part
If you claim Social Security prior to your full retirement age while still holding down a part-time job, you might have your benefits reduced if your work income exceeds the annual limit. For 2021, if you are under full retirement age, your benefits go down by $1 for every $2 your income exceeds $18,960. If you reach full retirement age in 2021, your benefits go down by $1 for every $3 your income exceeds $50,520 prior to reaching full retirement age. If you’re working part-time to help make ends meet, taking Social Security at 62 might make sense.
You Want To Start A Business
Some people think of retirement as a time to relax, but you might see it as an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before, such as starting your own business. For example, you might have put off starting a business before because you were afraid you wouldn’t be generating enough income. Social Security benefits could provide enough income to let you launch your business. And if your business is successful, the income it generates could be more than enough to offset the future reduction in benefits.
When Can I Start Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits
The Social Security Administration used to consider 65 to be full retirement age for the retirement benefit. Benefits amounts were calculated on the assumption that most workers will stop working full time and will claim retirement benefits when they reach age 65.
Now that people are generally living longer, Social Security’s rules about what is considered full retirement age have changed. Age 65 is still considered full retirement age for anyone born before 1938. But full retirement age gradually increases from age 65 to 67 for people born in 1938 or later. For anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67.
What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.