Do you want to require social security early? Know these 2 things first.
Do you want to require social security early?  Know these 2 things first.

Do you want to require social security early? Know these 2 things first.

Social security can end up being a crucial source of income for you when you retire. It may even end up being your primary source of income. Therefore, it is important to understand the implications of enrolling at different ages.

You can sign up first Social Security at the age of 62, but going that route will leave you with a reduced benefit. In fact, you are not entitled to your full monthly benefit based on your pay history until the full retirement age (OFF) takes effect. FRA is dependent on your year of birth, as follows:

Year of birth

Full retirement age




66 and 2 months


66 and 4 months


66 and 6 months


66 and 8 months


66 and 10 months

1960 or later


Data source: Social Security Administration.

Many seniors end up applying for social security in front of FRA to get their money faster. If this is a route you are planning to take, make sure you know these rules first.

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1. Your benefit will not be deducted up to its full amount from FRA

Some people are of the impression that if they demand social security early and reduce their benefit in the process, their benefit will be restored to its full amount when they reach FROM. Not so.

If you lock in a lower monthly benefit by claiming social security early, you will generally be stuck with the reduced amount for the rest of your pension. The only exception is if you regret your filing and there are strict rules there as well.

First, you can only undo your filing once in your life. And you must withdraw your application for benefits within one year of claiming them for this solution to work.

Furthermore, in order to undo your application and have the opportunity to sign up for benefits again at a later age, you must repay the Social Security Administration all the money it has paid you. It’s something you might really struggle to do.

As such, if you end up applying for social security early, you should assume that the benefit you start collecting will be the same amount that you receive for the rest of your life. And you should also make sure that you are okay with the lower benefit – which may not be the case if you do not bring much savings with you in retirement.

2. You can get benefits withheld if you make too much money

Applying for social security before FRA will automatically result in a reduced benefit. However, if you work at the same time, you may not even be able to keep the reduced benefit in full if you earn too much.

This year, you can earn up to $ 19,560 on a job without withholding any Social Security income. But beyond that limit, you will be withheld $ 1 in Social Security for every $ 2 you earn.

If you apply early now and want to reach OFF later this year, the earnings limit will increase significantly to $ 51,960. And beyond that point, you will have $ 1 in Social Security withheld for every $ 3 you earn.

Either way, if you need to work and earn a significant amount of money, you may want to consider twice claiming benefits early as part of that income will be withheld. And even if you get it back later – specifically when you reach OFF – the reduction in benefits you face by filing early will remain in effect permanently (unless you manage to undo your claim under the rules above).

Many people make the decision to sign up for Social Security before FRA. You can decide that it is the best choice for you. But make sure you are familiar with these rules before making that call.

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