Senior News Line: Delay Claiming Social Security
If you take your Social Security benefits early, you’ll be reducing by a significant margin the total amount you could receive.
–The BMO Retirement Institute has produced a report, “Retirees Not Maximizing Social Security Retirement Benefits,” that outlines some of the facts:
–For 60 percent of seniors, Social Security will provide the majority of income they’ll have during retirement.
–If you take your benefits early, you’ll receive a reduced amount each month. For example, if you claim at age 62, you might receive $1,500. Wait until age 66 and that amount becomes $2,000. At age 70, it would calculate as $2,640.
–If you claim early, that lesser amount stays with you for the rest of your life. (There is a 12-month period when you can pay back all the money you’ve received and start collecting again later, at a higher rate. But if you don’t act within that window of time, you can’t change your mind.)
–If you’re married and die first, your spouse will receive a lesser amount each month if you’ve claimed early. While you’re living, your spouse will receive up to 50 percent of the benefit, which will be smaller because you’ve claimed early.
–When it comes to asking for advice before collecting Social Security, 62 percent of seniors haven’t done that.
–While it’s possible to receive Social Security at age 62, the qualifying age for Medicare is still age 65. You could be stuck trying to pay for expensive health insurance with a reduced Social Security check.
Before you apply for Social Security, get advice. Call and ask that the numbers be run for you showing how much you’ll receive at age 62 as opposed to later. You’ll be surprised at the difference.
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.