When to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits and when to stop working are two of the most important financial decisions that older Americans make. You can take retirement benefits at any time between ages 62 and 70. If you are age 62 or older and need Social Security to make ends meet, you should take it. But there are sound financial reasons to delay taking benefits, if you can. If you wait, your monthly benefits will be higher for the rest of your life. Waiting even a year or two helps.