What is the best time to
start your benefits?
We're not recommending that your take your
benefits at age 62, at your full retirement age, at age 70
or at any age in between. That's a decision you have to
make personally, based on your own circumstances. But here
are some things you may want to consider when you make
- Do you come from a long-lived family?
How long do you expect to live? If your parents and
grandparents all lived into their 80s or 90s and you
have every reason to believe you will, too, you may want
to delay starting your benefits until full retirement
You may need the extra money more in later
years, particularly if you outlive other pensions or
annuities that have limits on how long they are paid.
- Are you still working?
If you plan to continue working,
there are limits on how much you can earn each year
between age 62 and full retirement age and still get all
Depending on the amount of your benefit
and the amount of your earnings for the year, you may
have to give up some of your benefits. If your earnings
will be high, waiting until full retirement age to start
your benefits may be a better choice. Once you reach
full retirement age, there is no longer any limit on how
much you can earn.
- How is your health?
If you are not in good health, you may want to start
your benefits earlier.
Reminder: If you stop working, not
only will you lose your paycheck, but you may also lose
valuable health insurance provided by your employer.
are exceptions, most people will not be covered by
Medicare until they reach age 65.
- Do you have other income to support you if
you decide to delay taking your benefits?
If you don't need your benefits immediately, you may
want to wait beyond
full retirement age and take advantage of the
delayed retirement credits.
If you're receiving
early retirement from your employer, keep in mind that
some company pensions include a Social
Security-equivalent supplement that stops automatically
at age 62. The supplement stops because they assume you
will apply for your retirement benefits at that age.
- Will other family members qualify for
benefits with you on your record?
your spouse or minor or disabled children will qualify
for benefits with you, the value of their benefits,
added to your own, may extend your break-even points.
This may make taking your benefits sooner more
Accidents or unexpected changes
in your circumstances can't be ruled out, of course, so
your final decision may be based on your "best guess"
about your future. Our representatives can help you
explore your options as you near retirement age, so give
us a call at our toll-free telephone number (1-800-772-1213)
(TTY 1-800-325-0778) or
visit your local
Social Security office.
And remember, Medicare
usually does not start until you reach age 65.
Even if you delay starting your benefits, be sure to
Security about 3 months before you turn age 65
to check about applying for