Social Security Benefits

Nine out of ten people age 65 and older are receiving Social Security benefits, and for 32 percent of them, it represents over 90 percent of their income. How and when to begin this income is one of the most important decisions many people make concerning retirement. Tens of thousands of people are making their decision every day, yet most of them do not know what their options are.

The Social Security office is well staffed with very trained and knowledgeable employees. The staff answers questions accurately; however, they are instructed not to give advice. Their job is not to advise, but to answer questions and implement decisions. If someone does not know the options, they will not ask about them, and will not be told about them. Learning and considering their options, is a brief, but essential phase of retirement planning. A wrong choice, unless it is corrected within a year, continues for life!

Age to Receive Full Social Security Benefits

Called Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1943-1954 66
1955 66 & 2 Months
1956 66 & 4 Months
1957 66 & 6 Months
1958 66 & 8 Months
1959 66 & 10 Months
1960 and Later 67

If you decide to delay your benefits until after age 65, you should still apply for Medicare benefits within three months of your 65th birthday. If you wait longer, your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) and prescription drug coverage (Part D) may cost you more money.

Things to Keep in Mind…

  1. You can take benefits as early as 62(60 if widowed), but if you wait your monthly check increases until you reach age 70.
  2. Consider all of your sources of income while making a decision on when to take your Social Security.
  3. True Retirement: Are you actually retiring when you begin taking Social Security payments, or will you continue to work even part-time?
  4. Divorced: Your benefit can be based on your ex-spouse’s work history.
  5. Widowed: You can collect benefits based on your deceased’s spouse’s earnings.