Brenda Lyle – Hometown News
Q: When is the best time to file for Social Security?
A: This question always sparks a lively discussion, with no “right” answer. The timing for when to take Social Security really depends on each individual situation.
Social Security calculates your payment on the 35 years you earned the most money. While you can begin benefits as early as age 62, the amount grows the longer you work and wait to take the benefit. Taking your payment at age 62 will permanently lower your monthly benefit. Start by going online to SSA.gov and creating your account. You can view your lifetime earnings record and use payment estimators to understand your benefit at different ages.
Financial & physical health –There are two big factors to consider when timing your SS benefit —your financial and physical health. Remember that the sign-up/eligibility age for Medicare is still 65. Usually, you cannot enroll early. So if you take your Social Security at age 62, you’ll need to provide your own health insurance for the intervening three years. Are you okay with that —and the lower benefit? Consider too, your health and life expectancy. While your benefit grows every month you wait to take it, you are also giving up payments that you could choose to take.
Two chances to get it right.
If you take your SS early and change your mind within 12 months of applying, you may still withdraw your request and pay Social Security back the payments taken. You may then restart your benefits at a later date for a potentially higher payment. But you can only do this once.
Who can I talk to?
Start with creating your personal account on SSA.gov, the official website of the Social Security Administration. Questions? One Senior Place has financial planners and Medicare advisors to walk you through different scenarios. Social Security advisors from the non-profit Association of Mature American Citizens Foundation are also available to help you by phone at 888-750-2622.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.