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When to Take Social Security: Questions to Consider

By: Virginia P. Reno and Joni I. Lavery
Published: January 2010

An updated version of this brief, When Should I Take Social Security: Questions to Consider, is available. See also a toolkit of additional materials on when to take Social Security.

Retirees can claim Social Security benefits at any age between 62 and 70. There are sound financial reasons to work beyond the earliest age and to delay claiming Social Security benefits if you can. Monthly benefits will be higher for the rest of your life if you wait. Social Security is the safest and most secure source of retirement income most people have, it is guaranteed to last for life and it automatically keeps up with the cost of living. At advanced ages, work may no longer be an option, pensions may be eroded by inflation and savings may be depleted. Maximizing Social Security benefits for the long term can offset some of the decline in other sources of support.