SJoining Social Security at age 62 means more years of checks, but there’s a downside: The checks you get at age 62 are smaller than the checks you’d get if you delayed benefits.
Some people choose to delay until they hit 70 to get the biggest checks possible, but that’s not the best strategy for everyone. If any of the three scenarios below apply to you, you better sign up as soon as possible.
1. Your life expectancy is short
Those with short life expectancies have nothing to gain by delaying Social Security. If they wait too long, there’s a risk they’ll die before they get anything out of the program, so it makes sense that they claim right away at age 62 and receive benefits for the longest period of time. possible years.
For example, you may want to consider applying early if you have a personal or family medical history that suggests you may not live long.
2. You earned much less than your spouse
When married partners are both working enough to qualify for benefits on their own, the Social Security Administration awards each spouse the greater of the individual’s personal benefit or up to 50% of the performance of their partner to their full retirement age (FRA). It’s somewhere between 66 and 67 for workers today. But you can only claim one spousal benefit once your spouse receives social security.
Couples trying to maximize their child benefits should coordinate their application ages. If both people have earned similar amounts over their lifetime, they’ll likely have similar Social Security benefits, so they’ll likely get the best out of claiming their own work records and delaying benefits for as long as they can. will be able.
But if one person earned significantly more than the other, then the lower earner might get more money from a spousal benefit than from their own benefit. One strategy these couples can use to get the most money is for the lower earner to sign up for benefits immediately at age 62. These checks will provide the couple with income while the higher income delays benefits.
Then, if the highest-earning spouse waits until age 70 to claim, that will give the greatest possible benefit. And the Social Security Administration will automatically switch the lower earner to the spousal benefit assuming half of that higher benefit is more than the low-income spouse has been collecting since age 62.
3. You really need financial help
Some people may want to delay benefits but cannot do so due to financial need. In this case, it is preferable to immediately subscribe to the benefits rather than resorting to palliatives such as going into debt.
But there may be other ways to cover your expenses in the meantime. You could reduce discretionary spending or apply for government assistance for low-income households. You can also work part-time to supplement your retirement savings.
If you can’t wait as long as necessary, you can always try waiting a few months to sign up, which will provide a small but permanent increase in your benefits.
Affirming Social Security early gets bad press, but in the scenarios above, it’s actually a smart move. Consider your own situation and choose the starting age that suits you best.
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