When is the Right Time to Apply for Social Security?

After a lifetime of hard work, you’ve earned your retirement—and all the benefits that come with it, including Social Security. But if you’re retiring before your full retirement age and have other sources of retirement income, you may want to put off applying for your Social Security benefits. Here’s why.

The longer you wait, the more you get1
Your full retirement age is determined by when you were born, and ranges from 65 to 67. Everyone who is eligible for Social Security benefits can choose to start receiving them as early as age 62. However, if you apply before your full retirement age, you’ll receive a reduced benefit. 

Here’s an example: Let’s say your full retirement age is 66 and your monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,000. If you choose to start getting benefits at age 62, your monthly benefit will be reduced by 25% to $750. However, if you wait until you’re 70, your monthly benefit would increase to $1,320.

If you live an average life span, your overall Social Security benefit will be about the same, regardless of when you start receiving it. And if you are married, there are additional scenarios that you should consider regarding the timing of when both spouses can optimize their Social Security choices. There are lots of factors to consider when choosing what age to receive your Social Security benefits, so be sure to discuss your options with your financial advisor. Together, you can help ensure you make a decision that provides you with the income you need, when you need it.   

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.  All investments are subject to risk.  We recommend that you consult an independent legal or financial advisor for specific advice about your individual situation.

The tax information herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Neither Voya nor its affiliated companies provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax and legal advisors regarding your individual situation.

1 For more information check out ssa.gov.