10 Dec 7 Reasons Why Taking Early Social Security Benefits Is Beneficial
People are often advised not to take early social security benefits. This advice is often well-meaning and smart.
The Social Security Administration explains, “You can start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount will be lower than your full retirement benefit amount. If you start receiving your benefits before your full retirement age, we will reduce your benefits based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age.”
In other words, the longer you wait to take social security benefits, the larger your social security checks will be when you decide to receive them.
However, there are some circumstances where it makes sense to take early social security benefits.
Maybe that’s why so many people are doing it!
USA Today reports, “Yet despite the prospects of getting larger payments from Social Security, 62 is still by far the most popular age for people to claim their Social Security. […] Fully 57 percent of Social Security recipients take their benefits before reaching full retirement age. That compares to just 10 percent waiting beyond full retirement age.”
Let’s look at 7 reasons why it is wise to take early social security benefits.
Changes to Social Security in 2022
Before we jump into the reasons why you should take early social security benefits, it’s important to review the current status of Social Security in 2022.
On Oct 13, 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the biggest increase in benefits since 1982.
Social security recipients will receive a 5.9% increase in COLA (cost of living adjustment). This is much needed and long overdue because of the increase we’ve seen in the cost of rent, gas, electricity, food, and other goods due to inflation.
In 2021, the average retired worker in the U.S. earned $1,565 each month in benefits. After the 5.9% adjustment, the average retired worker will earn $1,657 a month.
Check out the video below for 3 social security changes in 2022 you need to be aware of.
Now that you have a better idea of how much money social security may bring you, let’s talk about some circumstances when it is smart to take early social security benefits.
#1 If You Have a Serious Illness or Medical Condition
If you believe your life expectancy may be shorter due to illnesses or severe medical conditions, you may want to take your benefits early.
Don’t hold off when you may not live long enough to enjoy the benefits or if you need the benefits to help cover related medical costs.
#2 If You Are Only Working Part-Time
If you are working part-time and you make less than the annual limitations, it’s wise to take early benefits now to increase the income you are bringing into your household.
For 2021, the limit you’re allowed to earn is $1,580 per month or $18,960 for the year. It goes up slightly for 2022. That limit is $1,630 per month or $19,560 for the year.
So, again, if you are making less than $1,630 per month or $19,560 for the year, it makes sense to draw early social security benefits.
However, be aware that if you earn MORE than the limits from your part-time job and collect early social security benefits, you will be penalized.
The Social Security Administration will deduct one dollar from your benefit, so if you receive $600 a month in benefits from Social Security, they will take $1 for every $2 you earn over the annual limit.
#3 If You Decide to Quit Working
In the last two years, many Americans have called it quits – many who are not yet at retirement age.
According to The Washington Post, “Workers of all ages are quitting jobs in record numbers, in what has been dubbed the ‘Great Resignation.’”
If you decide to quit working at age 62 or later, you can claim your benefits early, and it may be a wise choice.
#4 If You Need the Benefits to Survive
Maybe your income is too low to make ends meet. Or maybe you are struggling to pay for essentials, such as gas and groceries, because of rising costs.
If so, it may make sense to take your benefits early.
Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position if you can collect early social security benefits.
#5 If You Have No Dependents Relying on Your Benefits
If you are single and have no dependents relying on your benefits, it doesn’t make sense to try to optimize your future benefits based on a spouse’s earning record.
If it’s just you, there is no other reason to wait and claim your social security benefits. Taking early benefits may increase your monthly income so that you can enjoy life more.
#6 If You Are the Lower-Earning Spouse
If you are the lower-earning spouse, it is smart to collect early social security benefits.
This allows the higher-earning spouse to continue growing his/her benefits and you to bring extra income into the household.
#7 If You Want to Pay Off Some Debt
Your retirement years will be much more relaxing if you don’t have debt hanging over your head.
That’s why people say things like, “I want to pay off my mortgage before going into retirement.”
If you have debt, such as mortgages, car payments, or even credit card debt, it is smart to collect early Social Security benefits and start immediately using this money to pay down debt.
This way, when you do officially retire, you’ll have peace of mind.