SENIOR NEWSLINE: When should you file for Social Security? |

SENIOR NEWSLINE: When should you file for Social Security?

It can be tempting, when age 62 rolls around, to quickly sign up for Social Security and start collecting some of that money you’ve put in over the years.

But wait … collecting at age 62 might not be your best bet. In fact, it can cost you many tens of thousands of dollars in lifetime benefits. has a calculator that takes you step-by-step through the numbers, showing specifically how your benefits will be affected by how early you start collecting.

Information you’ll need to put in the calculator:

Whether you’ve ever been married

Your birth date and that of a spouse or ex-spouse

Your gender

Whether you’ve worked for local, state or the federal government

Annual salary (and that of a former spouse)

At that point you can click to get a dollar estimate of your benefits.

Click the Your Benefits tab. You’ll see an elaborate graph that will show, by your age, whether you’ll get reduced benefits, full benefits or maximum benefits. Look closely at the numbers. At an average yearly salary, the difference between filing at age 62 versus filing at age 70 can be in the neighborhood of $1,000 per month … for the rest of your life.

Then click the section that deals with how much of your monthly retirement expenses will be covered. Compare those to filing early versus filing for full or maximum benefits.

Click on the “What If I Claim and Keep Working” tab for a real eye opener. You’ll see just how much — or little — of your money you’ll get if you take benefits while you’re still pulling in a salary.

Calculate all your numbers before you sign up early for Social Security. Be sure it will work for you!


Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to

2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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