To secure the maximum amount in monthly Social Security retirement benefits, Americans must wait until full retirement age to start receiving their payouts. Results from a 2023 survey show that most of today's workers know about this stipulation - and yet the vast majority say they’re willing to file for their Social Security benefits early anyway.
The amount of your social security benefit will not be reduced if you begin receiving it at an early age. Because you’ll take it at a younger age, your monthly payment will be smaller than if you had waited, but the total payout will be the same. Use the Social Security table or Social Security detailed calculator to understand how your monthly benefit payout amount changes depending on when you claim your benefits.
You Want the Money Now
While it is not always optimal, you may have more than one reason to take benefits early. Many are worried about potential Social Security insolvency. If it causes anxiety, then it may make sense to start taking benefits earlier than your full retirement age. You can invest the money and take it out of the government’s hands. However, you want to beat the guaranteed annual return of 6 to 8 percent.
You Fear You Won’t Be Around to Collect Later
Another reason to take your social security benefit early is a change in your life expectancy. While longevity may run in the family, an unfortunate diagnosis of a life-threatening disease could make additional income a priority. If your health has declined, consider claiming your benefit early to give you more financial, physical, and mental comfort.
Claiming Your Spouse’s Social Security
One spouse can make a rational case to start taking social security benefits at the earliest possible time if the other spouse has been the significant income earner. Statistically, the wife will outlive her husband, and the spouses can share the wife’s early benefit as an income source. You have to be married for a specific number of years to take your benefit early.
Claiming a Deceased Spouses Social Security
How long do you have to be married before receiving your deceased spouse’s increased benefit? The answer depends. There are three types of benefits in the married spouse category:
- Divorced spouse
Each status has different qualification rules, and it can be complicated to decipher the best benefit available to you. It is crucial to check Social Security Administration benefits for spouses and speak with a trusted elder law attorney. They may work with your financial advisor to outline your best course of action. Making the right decisions ensures the best possible financial future. The bottom line is if you take your benefits early, you need to understand you’ll get smaller monthly payments for the rest of your life. Depending on your circumstance, it may be a sensible choice.
Deciding when to take your social security benefits involves numerous factors. A balance has to be struck between the cost of living adjustments (COLA), current expenditures, and expected longevity. If our elder law attorneys can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Elder law services are integrated into your estate plan to help you prepare for medical and financial emergencies that could prevent you from protecting your family or leaving a legacy for future generations. Knowing when to take your social security benefits can help you achieve larger estate planning goals and offer peace of mind to you and your loved ones.
This article offers a summary of aspects of elder law. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, you should contact us at (352) 565-7737! We look forward to hearing from you!