When Should You Begin Claiming Social Security Benefits?

Asset Protection Group | Jul 16, 2019

For many people, retirement planning means establishing streams of income that are as high as possible, to cover their lifestyle needs in the years to come. With respect to Social Security, the longer you wait to collect your benefits, the higher your monthly disbursement will be. On average, for each year you wait to begin receiving your payments, there is an increase of about 8%.

However, retirement planning is never “one size fits all”, and there are some circumstances in which filing for Social Security benefits at age 62 is the wise move. It just depends on your circumstances. Here are a few reasons why you might consider collecting Social Security earlier, rather than later.

A shorter life expectancy. If you have reason to believe that you won’t live into your 80s (the average lifespan for both men and women right now), then it might make sense to claim your benefits now. Of course, make sure you have reasonable suspicion of this situation, and you’re not just reacting out of fear.

Your spouse is older, and ready to retire, but they earn less than you do. The higher-earning spouse will be due the larger Social Security benefit. In some cases, the lower-earning spouse is better served by claiming the marital benefit off of your record, rather than claiming on their own record. But you have to claim your own benefits before they can do that. So in this situation, it might make sense to file your claim earlier, so that you can retire together.

Your children still live with you. It’s becoming more common for retirees to have teenagers still living at home. They might qualify for dependent benefits after you claim your own retirement benefits, so it could be helpful to go ahead and file early.

You don’t have a choice. In some cases, like during an extended illness, some people just need to retire early. Perhaps you don’t have much choice, but you need all the income you can arrange. In this case, it can make sense to file for your Social Security benefits early.

However, please do give us a call before you take this step. As you know, the decision to claim Social Security is permanent, unless you are able to repay all of the benefits you have received. So let’s take the time to investigate other options, and make sure that this is truly the right decision for you.