Deciding when to begin claiming Social Security benefits is a significant decision, and the age at which you apply will affect your monthly benefit amount for the remainder of your life.
According to a 2020 Bipartisan Policy Center survey, the most popular age to file is 62, with approximately 35% of males and nearly 40% of females filing. However, you can delay taking Social Security until after you reach the age of 62 to increase your payments.
Your unique circumstances will dictate the appropriate age to file. There are several compelling reasons to file as soon as possible at age 62, and one compelling reason to consider delaying.
Why would you consider applying for Social Security at age 62?
1. You can begin planning for retirement early.
You are not required to retire and file for benefits concurrently, but they frequently occur concurrently. You may be able to retire sooner if you file for Social Security as soon as possible.
If you have reason to believe you will live a shorter life than average, this may be a prudent course of action. In this case, delaying Social Security benefits may not be prudent, and claiming sooner may provide you with additional time to enjoy your benefits.
2. Regardless of which option you choose, your lifetime benefits should be nearly identical.
In theory, regardless of when you file, you should receive roughly the same total. You will receive fewer payments if you file early, but you will receive them more frequently throughout your life. Waiting results in fewer checks, but each one is larger.
It may not matter what age you claim if your lifespan is average. In that case, filing for benefits sooner rather than later can provide you with additional time in retirement without jeopardizing your lifetime earnings.
3. You have the right to withdraw your consent.
Generally, once you file, your benefit amount is fixed for the remainder of your life. However, if you file for Social Security early, you have a few options for changing your mind.
During the first 12 months after filing, you may withdraw your application. You’ll be required to repay all benefits already received, but you’ll be able to reapply later for more thorough checks.
You may also suspend your benefits once you reach full retirement age (FRA). When you stop receiving benefits, you will not receive checks until you decide to reclaim them, at which point you will receive a higher payment.
Why should you take the time to consider waiting?
1. Your monthly checks will be much larger.
The most compelling reason to consider deferring benefits is the opportunity to earn significantly more money each month. While your lifetime benefits should be comparable regardless of when you file, your monthly income will be significantly higher if you wait.
Deferring benefits may help you pay your bills in retirement if money is tight. If you wait until you reach the age of 70 to begin claiming, you will receive a monthly bonus of up to 32% on top of your total benefit amount. This can amount to hundreds of dollars more per month in some cases than you would receive if you filed your claim early.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to when to claim Social Security, but it is critical to understand how your age will affect your strategy. Understanding the risks and benefits of filing early can assist you in determining whether it is the best course of action for you.