Considerations Before You File For Social Security

You can file for Social Security at the age of 62—but should you? Or you could wait until your full retirement age (FRA), which depends on when you were born. For example, people born between 1943–1954 reach FRA at 66. Anyone born in 1960 or afterward won’t be eligible for their full benefits until 67. 

Another thing to consider: every year you delay filing for Social Security beyond your FRA, you receive an 8% increase. This stops at age 70. At a minimum, you are looking at a 24% increase, which is a significant amount. 

On the other end of the spectrum, you can file immediately at age 62. However, if you choose to start drawing on Social Security this early, you will not receive the full amount. This will not happen until you have reached your designated FRA. For planning purposes, anticipate losing about 30% of the full amount. As you near FRA, the amount that you lose decreases.

COLA 

Due to inflation, it becomes more expensive to live each year. The government acknowledges this through annual cost-of-living adjustments. As the cost of living increases, your Social Security benefits do too. In theory, you receive more money, but your buying power remains the same. Once you begin receiving benefits, your COLA is based on that amount. The longer your wait, the more significant your COLA can be. 

How To Decide

Several factors will play into your decision to start receiving benefits. How is your health? If you have a family history of people living into their 90s, then drawing early could quickly be the difference of $100,000 throughout your life.

But if you have health issues now, the extra money could help offset some of your expenses. 

Another factor is whether you are still working. Although you may be near your FRA, there’s nothing that requires you not to work while you receive benefits. The government limits how much you can earn while still receiving the full amount. Any money you don’t receive will get added as a credit and recalculate at your FRA.

Though you aren’t losing the money, it is enough to consider whether you need it while working and how much you are earning. 

Lastly, whether you are married will play into your decision. Though you are likely used to doing things jointly, the two of you do not need to file for Social Security together. If you make more money than your spouse, you may consider waiting. Why? Social Security can pay out survivor benefits to the surviving spouse (and children if they are dependents). This can be one additional layer of protection for your spouse if you pass away first.

Elder Advisors Law 

At Elder Advisors Law, we don’t just advise our clients; we educate them. This puts you in the best position to make decisions based on your desires and needs. Contact us today and sign up for one of our complimentary workshops. Our attorneys will answer some of the most common questions associated with estate planning, asset protection, and more. 

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Elder Advisors Law

As Leaders in Estate Planning and Elder Law, we are passionate about helping families protect their hard-earned assets from the government, nursing homes, lawsuits or other predators.

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