Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 74

When to Start Receiving
Retirement Benefits
COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

FINANCE & LEGAL

According to Social Security, there's no one "best
age" for everyone and, ultimately, it's your choice. You
should make an informed decision about when to apply for benefits based on your individual and family
circumstances. The following information will help
you understand how Social Security can fit into your
retirement decision.

Your Decision Is A Personal One
Would it be better for you to begin receiving benefits early with a smaller monthly amount or to wait for
a larger monthly payment later that you may not receive as long? The answer is personal and depends on
several factors, such as your current cash needs, your
current health and family longevity. Also, consider if
you plan to work in retirement or if you have other
retirement income sources. You must also study your
future financial needs and obligations, and, of course,
calculate your future Social Security benefit. It's important to weigh all the facts carefully and consider
your own circumstances before making the important
decision about when to begin receiving Social Security
benefits.
Monthly Payments Differ Substantially Based
On When You Start Receiving Benefits
If you live to the average life expectancy for someone your age, you'll receive about the same amount
in lifetime benefits. It doesn't matter if you choose
to start receiving benefits at age 62, full retirement
age, age 70, or any age between. The amount of your
monthly benefit, however, can differ considerably
based on your retirement age. You can get lower
monthly payments for a longer period of time or higher monthly payments over a shorter period of time.
The amount you receive when you first get benefits
sets the base for the benefits you'll get for the rest of
your life. You'll get annual cost-of-living adjustments
and, depending on your work history, may receive
higher benefits if you continue to work.
Let's say your full retirement age is 66 and your
74

Answers Guide 2017	

monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,000. If you
choose to start getting benefits at age 62, Social Security will reduce your monthly benefit 25 percent to
$750 to account for the longer period of time you receive benefits. This decrease is usually permanent.
If you choose to delay getting benefits until age 70,
you would increase your monthly benefit to $1,320.
This increase is from delayed retirement credits you
earn for your decision to postpone receiving benefits
past your full retirement age. The benefit at age 70

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Contents
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