When should you start collecting Social Security benefits?  If you are approaching retirement age, you have most likely given much thought to the question of when you should begin receiving your Social Security retirement benefits.  The strategy that is most advantageous for you depends on your particular needs and circumstances.

You are entitled to begin receiving retirement benefits at your full retirement age (FRA) or as early as the first full month that you are age 62.   If you start receiving benefits at your FRA, your benefit will be 100% of your primary insurance amount (PIA).  However, if you claim your benefits before your FRA, your benefits will be permanently reduced.

If You Start Early

If you claim your benefits before your FRA, your benefits will be permanently reduced.  Your benefit amount does not increase when you reach FRA.  However, if you start receiving your retirement benefits early, you may receive more payments over time.

How much is the benefit reduced for early retirement?  It depends on how many months younger you are than your FRA when you are entitled to begin receiving benefits.  For example, if you were born in 1943, your FRA is 66 and your reduced benefit amount at age 62 is 75% of your PIA.  If you need your Social Security benefits to maintain your standard of living after you retire or if you have some reason to believe that you are not going to have a long retirement, then it might make sense for you to start receiving your benefits early.

If You Delay

If, on the other hand, you are still working or you have sufficient income from other sources, your retirement benefit could be substantially higher if you delay receiving benefits until your FRA or beyond.  The best option depends on your personal situation.  How is your health?  Does longevity run in your family?  Do you need the money to maintain your lifestyle?

We offer a free Social Security consultation to show you how the timing of your claiming decision can make a substantial difference in your retirement income, but most importantly, we help you decide on the best strategy based on your individual situation.”

Each person needs to carefully consider their own health and life expectancy in addition to their financial needs when weighing the options.  Before making a final decision, it is important to examine the tax consequences of each strategy.  For instance, part of your benefits may be taxable depending on the total amount of your benefits and other income.  Generally, up to 50% of your benefits will be taxable. However, up to 85% of your benefits can be taxable if either of the following situations applies to you:

  • The total of one-half of your benefits and all your other income is more than $34,000 ($44,000 if you are married filing jointly).
  • You are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year.

Therefore, the best time to start taking benefits depends largely on your overall situation, including your other sources of retirement income, such as your company pension(s) and individual retirement account(s).

Communities We Serve

Here is a partial list of some of the Washington County and surrounding area communities that we serve:

Baldwin, Bentleyville, Bethel Park, Brentwood, Bridgeville, Brookline, Canonsburg, Carnegie, Castle Shannon, Cecil, Churchill, Claysville, Dormont, Eighty Four, Finleyville, Gill Hall, Heidelberg, Hendersonville, Houston, Jefferson Hills, Lawrence, Library, Marianna, Mars, McDonald, McMurray, McKeesport, Mt. Lebanon, North Strabane, Oakdale, Peters, Pittsburgh, Pleasant Hills, Scott Township, South Park, South Strabane, Upper St. Clair, Venetia, Washington, West Alexander, West Mifflin, Wexford, Whitehall, Willock.