One of the most commonly asked questions at Mister Social Security is, “When is the best time to file for my Social Security benefits? Earlier or later?”
There are many variables that answer this question, so let’s explore.
Questions to Help Determine if Filing Early is Right for You:
- Do you need the cash flow from the benefits now?
- What is your average age expectancy? Do you project a shorter life expectancy?
- Are you in poor health?
- Is your spouse or minor (s) entitled to benefits now?
- Are you a spouse with the lower income?
- Will you be receiving a public pension in the future? Filing early may make sense to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision and/or the Government Pension Offset once the public pension starts.
Questions to Help Determine if Filing Late is Right for You:
- Are you in good or excellent health?
- Will this help mitigate longevity risk?
- Will this earn delayed retirement credits – it’s 8% per year for four years, for a total increase in benefits up to 32%!
- Are you a spouse with the higher income?
- Is one of your goals to maximize your spouses survivor or widower benefits?
The Last Variable – Age!
If you were to base your claiming strategy solely on your life expectancy, we follow this formula:
- If your life expectancy is 76 or earlier, claim benefits at 62
- If your life expectancy is 77, claim benefits at 64
- If your life expectancy is 78 or 79, claim benefits at 65
- If your life expectancy is 80, claim benefits at 66
- If your life expectancy is 81, claim benefits at 67
- If your life expectancy is 82 or 83, claim benefits at 68
- If your life expectancy is 84, claim benefits at 69
- If your life expectancy is 85 or 86, claim benefits at 70
As a cardinal rule, never delay receipt of benefits past 70 years of age. The benefits will never get higher after 70.
In order to make the best decision on when to file for benefits, you must take all of the variables into consideration and not rely on only one aspect. If you need help determining the best time to claim, please call, Mister Social Security can help!