When To Start Drawing Social Security Benefits

When approaching retirement, collecting Social Security benefits is likely one of the most important decisions to consider. But when is a good time to start drawing those benefits?

What to Consider Before Claiming Disability Benefits

Jim Miller recently published a Savvy Seniors article in the New Jersey Herald that addresses what to consider and where seniors can find help. Miller says the difference between a good decision and a poor one could cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your retirement, so doing your homework and weighing your options now is a wise move.

Miller says in the article that it’s common knowledge that people can claim their Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 70, but he says that each year someone waits, those benefits will increase by 5 to 8 percent.

“But there are other factors you need to take into account to help you make a good decision, like your health and family longevity, whether you plan to work in retirement, along with spousal and survivor benefits,” Miller says in the article. “To help you weigh your claiming strategies, you need to know that Social Security Administration claims specialists are not trained or authorized to give you personal advice on when you should start drawing your benefits. They can only provide you information on how the system works under different circumstances. To get advice you’ll need to turn to other sources.”

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Miller says the first step is to go to SSA.gov/my account to get a personalized statement. That statement will offer you an estimate on what your retirement benefits will be at each age – from 62 to 70. The estimates are based on your yearly earnings, which is also listed on the report.

Once you get estimates for both you and your spouse, there are several online tools that will offer you options to help you make an informed decision.

“Some free sites that offer basic calculations include AARP’s Social Security Benefits Calculator (AARP.org/socialsecuritybenefits), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Planning for Retirement tool (ConsumerFinance.gov/retirement) and SSAnalyze that’s offered by United Capital (BedrockCapital.com/ssanalyze),” the article reads.

For a more complete analysis, Miller suggests checking MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com or SocialSecurityChoices.com. Both sites cost $40, but the services will run scenarios based on various circumstances and show how different filing strategies affect the total payout over the same time frame.

“If you want human help, there are specialized firms and financial advisors that can advise you too,” Miller says in the article. “One such firm is Social Security Solutions (SocialSecuritySolutions.com, 866-762-7526). They offer several levels of web-based and personalized service (ranging from $20 to $500) including their $125 ‘Advised’ plan that runs multiple calculations and comparisons, recommends a best course of action in a detailed report, and gives you a one-on-one session with a Social Security specialist over the phone to discuss the report and ask questions.”

Financial planners also offer one-on-one advice. Use the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors online directory, which can be found at NAPFA.org, to find a fee-only certified financial planner (CFP) who charges by the hour and has experience in Social Security Analysis.

“Or try the Garrett Planning Network (GarrettPlanningNetwork.com), which is a network of fee-only advisers that charge between $150 and $300 per hour,” the article reads.

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