If you want your monthly Social Security benefit to be as large as possible, you’ll have to wait until age 70 to claim it. But that’s not the right choice for everyone – despite the fact that delaying earns you bigger checks.
In fact, there are plenty of circumstances when you’d want to start your retirement benefits much sooner – even as soon as 62 when you first become eligible. And there’s one situation where starting at a younger age absolutely makes sense.
Here’s what it is.
Claim Social Security before 70 in this situation
The single best reason to claim Social Security well before age 70 is if your claim for benefits enables a higher earning spouse to delay their claim for benefits.
Say you’re married and you and your spouse want to retire, but you need some money from Social Security to make that happen. If your spouse earned more than you, it would make sense for you to claim your benefits and let them wait to start theirs.
Reasons it can be good
There are several reasons it makes sense to start your benefit long before 70 to enable a higher-earning spouse to delay.
Delaying a higher benefit has a bigger payoff. Early filing penalties and delayed retirement credits are both applied on a percentage basis. That means the larger your benefit, the bigger the impact of early or late filing.
Say your standard benefit is $800 per month and your spouse’s standard benefit is $1,700 per month.
- If you claim early and are subject to a 25% early filing penalty, your benefit…