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When Should You Claim Your Social Security Benefits?

Are you at the point where you need to consider when to start receiving social security retirement benefits? 

Unless your financial situation dictates that you receive benefits as soon as possible, it can be very important to evaluate and explore your options to maximize your benefits.

Keep in mind that you may start receiving social security benefits at any time between ages 62 and 70, which will have a permanent impact on your lifetime benefits. 

Your "full retirement age" (or FRA - the time you will receive your full retirement benefits) depends on your year of birth.  If you were born after 1942 and before 1955, your FRA is 66.  Your FRA is 67 if you were born after 1959, and it's somewhere between age 66 and age 67 if you were born after 1954 and before 1960.  Knowing your FRA is a first step in evaluating your options.

Before you decide to start benefits, please consider the following issues:
  • If you retire at age 62 (or any time before your FRA), your retirement benefits will be permanently reduced by about 8% per year preceding your FRA.
  • If you retire any time after your FRA (up to age 70), you will boost your benefits by about 8% per year following your FRA for the rest of your life.
  • Medicare eligibility begins at age 65.  If you retire before then, you need to consider the availability of health insurance benefits until then.
  • The longer your life expectancy (and perhaps the life expectancy of your spouse), the more you may benefit from delaying social security retirement benefits.
  • Your Social Security benefits will be based on the 35 highest earning years of your work history. If you can replace some lower-earning years in your work history with higher earning years by continuing to work, you may be eligible for higher benefits when you do decide to retire.
  • A cash flow analysis should be done to compare the effect of continuing to earn a salary versus retiring and receiving social security benefits.
  • If you have dependent children, they may be eligible to receive benefits when you start receiving benefits.
  • Determine the impact, if any, of how the receipt of social security retirement benefits may affect your benefits from other retirement plans.
  • The emotional and psychological benefits of working versus retiring.
  • The impact of receiving social security benefits on your federal income tax situation.
We stand ready to help you sort through these issues and others that pertain to your unique situation. Thoughtful planning will ensure you and your spouse receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.


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(970) 667-1070
762 W Eisenhower Blvd
Loveland, Colorado 80537

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1212 Graves Avenue
Estes Park, Colorado 80517

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(281) 665-7973
21398 Provincial Blvd
Katy, Texas 77450