Fewer people are claiming Social Security at 62

Fewer people are claiming Social Security at 62


In 2011, 26.9% of all Americans who were eligible to claim Social Security at 62 did so, says a recent report from the Urban Institute. This is down from 30.8% in 2009 and is the lowest ratio since 1976.

More people are realizing that claiming Social Security early may jeopardize future economic security. When you apply for Social Security before full retirement age, your benefit starts out lower and remains lower for life. If you are married, this results in lower income for the two of you while you are both alive, and lower income for the surviving spouse later in life.

Also, more people are continuing to work past age 62. This allows them to add to their retirement savings while deferring Social Security in order to collect a higher benefit later.

What if you started your Social Security at 62 and now regret the decision? Well, there are a couple of things you can do. First, if you applied within the past 12 months, you can withdraw your application, repay the benefits you received, and restart your benefit at a later date.

If the 12-month window has passed, all is not lost. If you are under full retirement age and working, some or all of your benefits are being withheld due to the earnings test. When you turn full retirement age, your benefit will be recomputed to give you credit for those months in which you did not receive a check. Between the ages of 66 and 70, you may voluntarily suspend your benefit in order to increase your Social Security benefit by 8% per year.

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