Understanding the Timing of Your Social Security Benefits
Ask Our Experts for More Information on October 4, 2023
Navigating life as an older adult can be incredibly complex—and understanding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security can feel like a maze. At McGregor PACE, we want to help you feel as confident as possible with your future planning. That starts with answering even the most basic questions, such as when to apply for social security benefits.
Older adults in the United States are eligible to start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, the timing of when to apply for Social Security is an important decision that should be based on individual circumstances. Here are some key points to consider:
Early Eligibility: As mentioned, you can start receiving reduced Social Security benefits at age 62. However, if you choose to begin receiving benefits before your full retirement age (which varies depending on your birth year), your monthly benefit amount will be permanently reduced to account for the longer period over which you’ll be receiving benefits.
Full Retirement Age: Your full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which you’re eligible to receive 100% of your Social Security benefits. If you start receiving benefits before your FRA, your monthly benefit will be permanently reduced. If you wait until after your FRA to claim benefits, your monthly benefit may increase through delayed retirement credits, up until the age of 70.
Delayed Retirement Credits: If you delay claiming Social Security benefits beyond your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will increase by a certain percentage for each year you delay, up until age 70. This can be a beneficial strategy for those who have other sources of income and can afford to wait.
Health and Financial Situation: Consider your health, life expectancy, and overall financial situation when deciding when to apply for Social Security. If you anticipate a longer lifespan and have other sources of income, delaying benefits could result in higher total benefits over your retirement years.
Spousal Benefits: Married individuals have additional options to consider, including spousal benefits and strategies for optimizing the combined benefits for both spouses. Social Security rules can be complex, and it’s often beneficial to consult with financial advisors or professionals who specialize in retirement planning.
Application Timing: You can apply for Social Security up to four months before you want your benefits to start. This means you can apply even if you’re not planning to immediately use the benefits. Some people apply earlier to ensure a smooth process and avoid delays.
Remember that you can apply for Social Security before you’re ready to start using the benefits, but the decision of when to apply should be based on your individual financial situation, health, and long-term goals. It’s recommended to carefully consider these factors and possibly consult with financial advisors before making a decision.
Our friends at McGregor are hosting an Ask Our Experts event on October 4, 2023, to help you navigate planning for your future. Our experts will help answer questions like when is the right time to apply for social security benefits and provide even greater detail and guidance specific to your situation. If we can offer any additional information or support, please don’t hesitate to reach out.