Homestimulus checkClaiming Social Security before 70 is a good idea in this situation

Claiming Social Security before 70 is a good idea in this situation

For many retirees, waiting until age 70 to get the first Social Security check is the right financial decision. Applying for benefits at the age of 70 can lead to a higher monthly income than if you were to declare benefits at a younger age. And since many people are now living longer than their life expectancy, 6 in 10 retirees will get more for life if they delay their first Social Security benefit until age 70.

But there is one situation where there is absolutely no point in waiting that long. If it applies to you, you shouldn’t wait until after full retirement age to get benefits.

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This is when it makes sense to apply for benefits before age 70

You must start your Social Security checks no later than your full retirement age if you are claiming partner benefits instead of retirement benefits.

You can choose to receive benefits based on your own work history or receive benefits based on the work record of a current spouse or a former spouse (as long as the marriage lasted at least ten years and you did not remarry).

If your earnings were quite low during your career, partner benefits may give you more income than your own benefits. They may even be your only option if you haven’t worked long enough to qualify for retirement benefits.

The partner benefits can be up to 50% of your spouse’s standard benefit at full retirement age. But that’s the most they can be. If you claim them before your own full retirement age, you shrink them. So you may want to wait until then. But if you wait after your full retirement age, you will not receive an increase in the partner allowance. They max out at FRA, which is well over 70. So waiting longer than FRA to start partnering payments would mean just giving up checks that should come to you and getting nothing at all in return.

This is in contrast to when you claim retirement benefits, as each month that you delay the start of your own retirement checks until after full retirement age would result in a 2/3 increase in benefit from 1% to age 70.

When is your full retirement age?

To determine the latest age at which to claim your Social Security benefits, you need to know when your full retirement age is. It depends on your year of birth and the table below shows what your year of birth is.

Year of birth

Full retirement age

1943-1954

66

1955

66 and 2 months

1956

66 and 4 months

1957

66 and 6 months

1958

66 and 8 months

1959

66 and 10 months

1960 or later

67

Data source: Social Security Administration

If you’ve reached this milestone and are getting your partner’s benefit (whether or not you also receive Social Security yourself), start your checks now as long as you qualify. Your spouse will need to have filed for his own retirement benefits first, but once that’s done, don’t wait to start collecting this important source of income.


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