When to Apply for Your Social Security Benefits
There are two trains of thought when it comes to the timing of your Social Security benefits. Some people like to claim them as soon as they can in order to receive an extra monthly income sooner. Others like to delay their benefits in order to receive a higher amount each month a few years from now.
What does this mean for you? It’s up to you when to apply for your Social Security benefits, as long as you follow the rules.
Apply for Benefits Early
Since nobody can predict what the future will bring, it might not be a bad idea to apply for Social Security benefits as early as you can. What your full retirement age is depends on when you were born. For example, for anyone who was born after 1960, full retirement age is currently at 67 years of age. However, you may be able to receive reduced benefits at age 62.
Once you start receiving retirement benefits, there is nothing you can do to increase the amount. That’s the downside to getting benefits early. However, you have the option to start and stop your benefits one time during your lifetime within the first year of receiving them. And if you repay the money you have received, then you are essentially resetting the clock. This means you can still qualify for full benefits if you wait until you have reached full retirement age to apply for benefits the second time.
In order to receive benefits, you can apply up to three months in advance. Therefore, if you were born after 1960, the earliest age you could apply for benefits would be 61 years and 9 months.
Should You Wait until Later?
Social Security benefits actually increase if you wait until you have reached your full retirement age. This means that working for a few more years will increase the amount of your Social Security paycheck each month during your retirement years. If you have the option to delay receiving benefits, then you should certainly consider doing so.
In some cases, though, delaying benefits may not be the best idea. For people who are suffering from poor health, retiring sooner rather than later might be beneficial. Moreover, if you don’t need a higher income to support yourself during your retirement years, then you might not want to wait to receive benefits. The good news is that our experienced Boise Social Security attorney and physician Joseph F. Brown MD, JD, can help you with your application and ensure that you receive the benefits you’re entitled to whenever you are ready to receive them.