CHAPTER 5

Social Security Web Site -
Use It to Claim Social Security





How the Social Security web site can help you determine when you should submit a claim. Find out when it the best time for you.

The Social Security Administration has put in a good deal of effort to make it easier for individuals to apply for benefits online. What should you do? Start with the social security homepage. It gives you a good overview of what is available in the various portions of the social security web site.

I recommend that you take your time to review most all of the topics listed under the Retirement section on the social security homepage. It describes a number of actions including:

  • What you can do online
  • Check the status of your application
  • Business services online
  • Your social security earnings statement
  • Estimate your benefits
  • Already receiving benefits
  • Forms and publications

One of the most critical elements in submitting a claim is “When should I take social security benefits?” Should I take it at age 62, at age 65, at full retirement age, or at age 70?

Great questions. We all want to maximize the amount that we receive from social security, but our circumstances are all different. As we pointed out in our page on social security retirement ages, one will only receive 75% of your full retirement amount, if you take benefits at age 62.

That means that once you start taking benefits at age 62, you will receive that amount and any cost of living adjustments, if any, from that time forward. So, in essence, the longer you live, the more money you will lose or forego if you start at age 62.

However, if one is in poor health or does not expect to live a longer life, it may be the right decision for you to indeed take benefits at age 62. It has generally been reported that approximately 70% of the those that qualify do take early retirement benefits.

A general estimate for a break-even point is age 80. If one expects to live past age 80, then it is generally economically advantageous to wait until full retirement age to take your benefits. This is not a hard and fast rule. One must take into consideration a number of factors for your particular situation, including how much one needs the income in the earlier years.

For the boomers, the normal full retirement is age is 66. At that age, you would received 100% of the full amount due you. Should you wait until age 70, you would receive 132% of the amount at full retirement age. Even waiting until age 67 would give you 108% of the full retirement age amount.

One good approach is to use the Estimate Your Retirement Benefits calculator on the social security web site to run several cases of taking retirement at different ages. This will give you a good indication of your benefits for each age.

We have included a video below that you may find useful. Ken and Daria Dolan have produced many articles and videos on financial topics. One public domain video has been linked here to provide you their take on "When to take Social Security". Be aware that the Dolans have included an ad at the beginning of their video. We hope you enjoy their comments.

Video length = 6:01





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