Your benefit amount is set depending on when you file.
- If you file prior to your full retirement age (FRA) your benefit is reduced by a factor of how many months early you filed. For example, if your FRA is 66 and you file at 62, your benefit would be reduced by approximately 25%.
- If you file after your FRA you will earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs) to your benefit, 8% per year until 70.
The Social Security Timing software makes it easy to compare the value of an election based on age(s) filed for Social Security benefits. A Social Security benefit can be claimed as early as 62 and delayed up to the age of 70. The benefit amount increases each month the election is delayed. In comparing what is the optimal age in claiming a Social Security benefit, using a life expectancy is critical in that decision. Choosing the claiming age that maximizes the expected present value of lifetime Social Security retirement benefits requires, among other criteria, the specification of a rate of return to use when discounting the future benefit payments for each claiming age. Our software compares claiming age strategies in net present values.
Example of an early claiming age decision.
Assume in the following example an illustration of a married couple. Pat born 1/1/1954 with a life expectancy of 87 years. Pat will receive $2,000 per month at FRA. Tonya born 1/1/1956 has a life expectancy of 92. Tonya will receive $1,800 per month at FRA.
Note: Pat's date of birth is the last date an individual can file a restricted application to elect only his spousal benefit. This was part of the Bipartisian Budget Act of 2015.
The suggested strategy uses the assumptions entered to suggest optimal instructions.
The earliest strategy as the name implies, the earliest opportunity to file for benefits.
In this case, we can see a $125,653 difference over the lifetime of this decision. Making an early decision as a status quo could be a costly one.