You May be Making Your Social Security Claim Decision All Wrong

If you're planning on relying solely on your social security check for retirement, you may want to reconsider. Here's why. 


According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), 62% of today's senior beneficiaries rely on the federal program for at least half of their income. Less than 30% of today’s senior beneficiaries rely on Social Security for their total income. Yet, in a national survey conducted in April 2018, approximately 84% of today’s non-retired adults expect to rely on Social Security in some capacity, including 30% who believe it will be a “major source” of income. In other words, a lot of people are counting on the program for financial security.


The most important decision senior citizens will make


There's perhaps no decision that's more important for retirees than their Social Security claiming age. The SSA uses the following four factors to determine the amount of your retirement benefit:


  • Your work history
  • Your earnings history
  • Your birth year
  • Your claiming age


When determining your Social Security benefit, the SSA will consider your 35 highest-earning, inflation-adjusted years. This means that you'll want to work at least 35 years, if not more—and earn as much as possible in the years in which you do work. This will increase the amount you receive from the SSA.  In addition, the SSA considers your birth year because it determines your full retirement age. For baby boomers and later generations who have not yet retired, the full retirement age will land between 66- and 67-years-old. If you claim before this age, you will have to accept a penalty on your monthly payout. Conversely, waiting to claim Social Security benefits after your full retirement age could actually boost your monthly payout.


Are you approaching your Social Security claim decision correctly?


Given the above information, you may assume that most people wait to claim benefits after their full retirement age. Yet, that’s not what is currently happening. As recently as 2013, 60% of retirees claiming Social Security benefits did so before age 64, with 45% taking their benefits at age 62. This means a majority of senior citizens are knowingly and permanently reducing their monthly payout.


While your claiming decision may seem relatively simple, you could be approaching it wrong. How? Namely, by focusing on short-term numbers, such as a monthly payout figure, and ignoring the long-term goal, which is to maximize how much you'll receive over your lifetime. Not per month...over your lifetime.


Understandably, no one knows with any certainty how long that lifetime is going to last. That means there's no perfect formula for when to claim Social Security benefits. However, by examining your personal and financial health, marital status, and a host of other factors, you can determine the best claiming age for you.


The Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is here to help you decide when to apply for Social Security and/or how to navigate the application process. Our experienced Social Security attorneys provide our clients with one-on-one, personalized representation to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. If you have been denied Social Security benefits or believe you have been wrongfully terminated by the SSA, contact us today for a free consultation. Our highly skilled and successful team of legal professionals will improve your chances of winning disability benefits.


Don’t fight this stressful situation on your own. Filing for Social Security benefits is a time-sensitive process, so do not delay in calling us today at 1-866-460-1990.