Things to Consider Before Filing for Social Security Early

When do you plan on retiring? Are you thinking about filing for social security early? You’re not alone. The Social Security Administration estimated that 3.9 million people will turn age 62 in 2015 and another 4 million will turn 62 in 2016. What’s more, many of these people will be claiming their Social Security benefits within the first month after turning age 62. Forbes reported that for those born in 1935, about 43 percent of men and 49 percent of women claimed benefits in the first month after turning age 62.

For some, retiring early is the best option. But lets face it; there is a lot to know about Social Security benefits and making the decision that’s best for you can be a complicated process. The best time to retire varies from individual to individual and it differs based on your unique situation.

Before you rush into filing for Social Security early, consider the following questions to determine which retirement age is best for you.

Before you rush into filing for Social Security early, consider the following:

 

1. Are you still working?

If you are still working or are physically capable of working, you may want to consider holding off on filing. Generally, those who work in physically demanding blue-collar jobs tend to claim early because they are no longer able to work. Forbes reported that workers with a blue-collar job at age 60-62 were 55% more likely to claim benefits at age 62.

However, if you plan to claim your benefits at 62 and continue to work you need to determine how much you’d earn at your job and how those earnings may reduce your Social Security retirement checks. An earnings test applies each year after you’ve claimed benefits, but only until you hit full retirement age.

Also, you’ll lose one dollar in benefits for every two dollars you earn above the threshold of $15,720 (SSA’s 2015 earnings limit), if you’re aged 62 to 65.Are you Married? Divorced? Widowed?

2. Are you Married? Divorced? Widowed?

Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the variety of benefits that could be paid out under Social Security. One of the major problems with blindly claiming retirement benefits at age 62 is that in many cases, people forgo another benefit in the future.

This happens often with survivor benefits. If a 62 year-old widow filed to collect survivor benefits, instead of immediately claiming retirement, the widower would be able to collect survivor benefits for a full eight years and then would be able to claim full retirement benefits at age 70.

In situations where both spouses are eligible for their own benefits, the spouse that has contributed more to social security than the other should wait longer than the less-contributing spouse to claim benefits. The advantage in delaying collecting past 62 is that for someone who is married, survivor spouse benefits would increase.What are the advantages of waiting?

3. What are the advantages of waiting?

The benefits you could receive are much higher if you wait to collect. If you retire between your full retirement age and age 70, you generally are credited. For example, if your full retirement age is 66 and you intend to take you benefits at age 68, you can get credited 8% per year. Thus, your benefit would be 16% higher than the amount you would have received if you had filed at age 66.

However, the exact number will be dependent on the benefits that you’re qualified to receive. But the reduction of claiming early is about 25%, instead of waiting until age 66.

The moral of the story here, while retiring at 62 may seem like the best option for you, its worth taking the time to investigate your options.

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