Social Security: When Do I File?
When should I file for Social Security Benefits?
Your decision is a personal one. The age at which you should file for Social Security benefits depends on various factors, including how long you plan to work, your personal financial situation, your health, and your expected longevity.
You can begin your benefits anytime between ages 62 and 70. The longer you wait to file, the more your monthly benefit will be.
3 OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO YOU:
1) Early Retirement: You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, if you start before your Full Retirement Age (FRA), your benefits will be reduced. For example, if your FRA is 67 and you start collecting benefits at 62, your monthly benefit will be reduced by about 30%.
2) Full Retirement Age (FRA): If you start collecting Social Security benefits at your FRA, you’ll get 100% of your monthly benefit.
This age depends on your birth year:
- For those born in 1937 or earlier, FRA is 65.
- For those born between 1938 and 1959, FRA ranges from 65 and 2 months to 66 and 10 months.
- For those born in 1960 or later, FRA is 67.
3) Delayed Retirement: You can delay your benefits beyond your FRA, up to age 70. The longer you delay, the more your benefits will increase. This can be helpful if you expect to live longer or if you don’t need the income right away. There’s no additional benefit increase for delaying beyond age 70.
- Financial Needs: If you need the income immediately, you might decide to file as early as possible. If not, waiting will give you a higher monthly benefit.
- Health and Life Expectancy: The longer your life expectancy is, the longer you may want to wait to file. If longevity runs in your family and you’re in good health, waiting might be more advantageous.
- Spousal Benefits: The decision can also impact the benefits your spouse may receive.
- Employment Status: If you’re still working, there might be a limit to how much you can earn before your benefits are temporarily reduced, depending on your age.
- Other Income and Savings: If you have other sources of income or significant savings, you might not need to rely on Social Security as heavily and can consider delaying your benefits.
To make the most informed decision based on your personal circumstances, we recommend you talk with one of our professional advisors. We can provide you with an analysis, including possible outcomes, to help you make a decision. We’re here to help.
This page last reviewed or revised: October 2023.