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Updated by Mike Murburg on Dec 11, 2017
Headline for Factors Influencing When You Should Receive SSA Benefits
Mike Murburg Mike Murburg
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Factors Influencing When You Should Receive SSA Benefits

Throughout the USA, those eligible for SSA retirement benefits must decide whether to wait until full retirement age or receive reduced benefits early. Read on to learn more.


Family Support Structure

Family support structures — or the lack thereof — can have a significant impact on whether you should receive retirement benefits early, or wait for your full benefit at age 65+. For example, if your children are willing and able to house you and take care of you financially, then you may not be as reliant on your retirement benefits to survive. You could either obtain the benefits early to help account for your costs sooner, or you could wait so that a greater portion of your costs will be covered by your (expanded) retirement benefits.


Additional Income Streams

If you have (or will have) additional income streams and assets coming in besides SSA retirement benefits — for example, pension payments, a private retirement fund, dividends, inheritance, rent payments from tenants, and more — then it may be quite easy to forego receipt of your retirement benefits until a later date. Further, you may want to avoid receiving benefits early if your benefits will be subject to significant tax (due to your combined income).

Understanding when you should receive benefits can be confusing, especially if you have multiple income streams that could expose you to additional tax liability. For professional guidance, try consulting with a qualified Florida SSA attorney.


Potential Health Issues

Generally speaking, your decision to receive lower benefits sooner will hinge substantially on your health expectations. If you are in good health, then you may have to plan for three decades (or more) of retirement! Though good health is anything but a certainty, you should not assume that your health will deteriorate early — unless you have good reason to believe it. If you live a long retired life, you are much more likely to benefit from waiting for a few years for your full retirement benefit.

Suppose, for example, that your total benefit is $500 per month, and the difference in your monthly benefit is $100 if you choose to receive your benefit early, at age 64, as opposed to receiving your full retirement benefit at age 65. If you have a three decades-long retirement, the difference in payments could add up to roughly $30,000 — accounting for the additional year of early payments, of course.


Spousal Considerations

Bear in mind that your SSA benefit will affect your spouse, too — particularly in circumstances where your spouse does not separately qualify for an SSA benefit of their own. If you die and leave your spouse as a survivor, he or she will likely qualify for survivor benefits. Those survivor benefits are based on the total SSA benefit, however. The higher the SSA retirement benefit amount, the higher the survivor benefit amount will correspondingly be. By waiting until full retirement age, you can ensure that your spouse will receive a higher benefit in the event that he or she survives you.


Continuing to Work

If you intend to keep working until full retirement age — or even after full retirement age — you can much more easily forego early receipt of SSA benefits. Older workers who are involved in physically laborious jobs, however, may feel that it’s simply too risky to continue to work and that the additional income stream provided by retirement benefits is desirable (as soon as possible!).