3 Key Questions to Answer

Scott Kahan |

Article written by Scott M Kahan in Hamlet Living - February 2022 Magazine

For many people, Social Security income is a critical component of their retirement strategy. As simple as Social Security seems, it can be complicated as to when to start collecting your benefit though. There are many factors to consider as to when to begin collecting. These three important questions are a good place to start. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source.

1) When to start? You have the choice of starting benefits at age 62, claiming them at your full retirement age, or delaying payments until age 70.

If you claim early, you can expect to receive a monthly benefit that will be lower than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until age 70, you can expect to receive an even higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you had begun taking payments at your full retirement age. 

The decision of when to begin taking benefits may hinge on whether you need the income now or can wait, and whether you think your lifespan will be shorter or longer than the average American.

2) Should I continue to work? Work provides income, personal satisfaction, and may increase your Social Security benefits. However, if you begin taking benefits prior to your full retirement age and continue to work, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the prevailing annual limit ($18,960 in 2021).

If you work during the year in which you attain full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over a different annual limit ($50,520 in 2021) until the month you reach full retirement age.

After you attain your full retirement age, earned income no longer reduces benefit payments. 

3) How can I maximize my benefit? The easiest way to maximize your monthly Social Security benefit is to simply wait until you turn age 70 before receiving payments.


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