For most people, Social Security benefits represent a portion of their income during retirement years and not the sole source of income. These three key factors will affect your benefits:
WHEN TO START SOCIAL SECURITY
Anyone who has paid into Social Security for at least 10 years can start receiving benefits as early as the first full month after reaching age 62. Waiting until you reach the full Social Security retirement age will allow you to take a higher retirement benefit. There are exceptions to this rule, such as medical disability that would prevent you from working. Other benefits, such as Social Security disability benefits, survivor benefits or widow(er) caring for a child may be available if you are eligible. A widow(er) may be able to receive full benefits at the full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as 50.
Even the month in which you choose to begin benefits may make a difference. Not everyone has the financial flexibility to defer Social Security benefits, but if you are considering it, you must compare the advantage of increased monthly benefits against the cost of receiving benefits for fewer years. Basically this means you get lower monthly payments for a longer period of time or higher monthly payments over a shorter period of time.
||Full Retirement Age
||Benefit at 62
||Benefit at 65
||66 and 2 months
||66 and 4 months
||66 and 6 months
||66 and 8 months
||66 and 10 months
|1960 or Later
WORKING WHILE RECEIVING SOCIAL SECURITY
Another consideration when determining whether to take Social Security benefits before your full retirement age is that your work activity during this time may decrease your benefit payments. However, the rules for how work affects your benefits are complicated and based on earned income limits that are set annually by the federal government. If you would like to work while receiving benefits, you should contact the Social Security Administration before making any decisions.
After you reach your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you like and still receive your full Social Security benefits.
TOTAL RETIREMENT INCOME
Remember that Social Security is designed to be just one part of your total retirement income.
To learn more about your Social Security benefits, visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov where you can:
View your Social Security Statement
Use the Retirement Estimator to calculate benefits
Apply for benefits and much more
Click here for the most frequently asked Social Security questions.
To learn more about your YMCA Retirement Fund annuity options, read Annuity Basics and Options.