When Can I Start Receiving My Social Security Benefits?

When Can I Start Receiving My Social Security Benefits?

You cannot claim your own social security benefit until you have reached age 62, and you have to start taking them by the time you reach age 70. You can actually start receiving benefits while you are still working, but your benefits will be reduced if you are younger than Normal Retirement Age.

Currently, you have to be 62 years or older to start receiving Social Security benefits, and this includes spouses who wish to claim spousal benefits. You must start to receive benefits at age 70. Keep in mind that the longer you defer your benefits, the greater your Social Security payments will be (until age 70 of course).

You can start to receive benefits while you are still employed, but your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 of earned income over a threshold, which is relatively low — but only if you are not yet at Normal Retirement Age.

After you’ve reached NRA, your benefits will not be reduced, but — and this goes for all Social Security benefits — if your income is over a certain threshold (different from the 2:1 reduction threshold), up to 85% of your Social Security benefit can be made subject to income tax.

Taking benefits at age 62 means that your benefit will be 30% less than it would have been at Normal Retirement Age (if your NRA is 67). If you defer the benefit past age 67, the benefit will be increased by 8% a year, which is hard to come by in the private annuity market.

Social Security benefit deferral is widely recommended by financial planners, even if it means using up other assets or working a little longer, so be aware that most good advice would seek to dissuade you from taking benefits as soon as you could.

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