If you’re set to turn 62 soon, you might be eyeing retirement in the next few years. You’ve just reached the age of Social Security eligibility (assuming you would file an early claim for benefits), so here's what you need to know at this time.
You can’t receive full benefits yet. Full retirement age is 66 or 67, depending upon when you were born. You can file an early claim at 62, but your monthly checks will be permanently reduced by 30 percent compared to what they will be if you wait a few more years.
Social Security isn’t just for retired workers. Yes, you need a certain number of “work credits” (equivalent to ten years) in order to claim your own benefits. But the spouse of anyone entitled to Social Security can claim spousal benefits. So even if you’re not ready to file a claim, your spouse might be.
You can also claim benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record. If you were married at least ten years and you haven’t remarried, you can file a claim for Social Security spousal benefits. This check will be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s benefit amount. In some cases, it makes sense to claim your spousal benefits rather than your own.
You can keep working and claim your benefits. If you reach age 62 and are still working, you can claim your early benefits. But if you earn over a certain threshold, your checks will be reduced by one dollar for every two dollars you earn over that limit.
Your check will depend upon your lifetime earnings. The Social Security Administration uses a formula to calculate your monthly checks, based upon your 35 highest-earning years. Those with higher earnings will receive higher benefits, but of course those benefits can be reduced if you claim them early.
If you’re reaching age 62 this year, let’s meet to discuss your options with regard to retirement and Social Security. We can help you calculate your potential benefits checks and understand the pros and cons of waiting to file your claim versus filing it now.