Social benefits can be an integrated source of income for many retirees, but it is possible that you leave money on the table.
Only about 54% of workers say they know how to maximize their social security benefits, according to a 2021 study by the National Retirement Institute. In addition, only 38% of survey participants were aware that the age at which you start claiming benefits has an impact on the amount you receive each month.
Your age can dramatically affect your monthly payments, and in some cases, you can increase the size of your checks by several hundred dollars a month. Here’s how you do it.
How your age will affect your benefits
All older adults are eligible to start claiming social security at the age of 62, but you can also submit an application at any time after that.
To receive the full amount you are entitled to based on your earnings, you must wait for yours full retirement age (OFF) – which will be between 66 and 67 years old, depending on the year you were born. If you wait until after your FRA to file (up to 70 years), you will receive a bonus on top of your full benefit amount.
Waiting a few years to file can have a huge impact on the size of your checks. In some cases, you could receive hundreds of dollars more per month or potentially even double your payments.
For example, say your FRA is 67 years old and you are eligible to raise $ 1,600 per year. month at that age – approximately the average benefit amount among pensioners. If you had to wait until you turned 70, you would get a 24% bonus on top of that amount, giving you a total of $ 1,984 per month. That’s an extra $ 384 per. month compared to if you had reported at the age of 67.
The difference between filling in at age 62 and age 70 is even more significant. In this scenario, if you were to apply at the age of 62, your full benefit amount would be reduced by 30%, giving you $ 1,120 per month. That’s $ 864 a month less than you would receive by filing at age 70.
When should you require social security?
The best age to require will depend on your unique situation, so there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer.
If your money is going to be tight in retirement and your savings are falling short, Postponing benefits could be a smart move. You will receive larger checks for the rest of your life, which can go a long way.
On the other hand, if you expect to live a shorter than average life expectancy, to claim early could be your best bet. In theory, you should receive the same amount over the course of your life, no matter when you make claims. You will either collect smaller checks, but more of them if you submit early, or fewer larger checks if you delay benefits.
However, these calculations assume that you will live an average lifespan. If you have reason to believe that you will not live up to the 80s or above, you could potentially receive more money in total if you make claims earlier. On the other hand, if you expect to live a long life, you can get ahead by postponing the benefits.
Deciding when to apply for Social Security is a big decision that will affect the rest of your pension. Although there is no single answer, considering all your options will help you make the best choice for your situation.