Tens of millions of people rely on Social Security in order to get the income they need to pay their living expenses in retirement. For many, the chance to collect Social Security benefits can't come soon enough, especially for those who've been forced into early retirement and are struggling to make ends meet.
Social Security gives workers the option to take benefits anytime between age 62 and 70, and it offers some incentives to those who are willing to wait. While those who claim benefits earlier than their official full retirement age will have to accept smaller monthly benefit payments, those who wait beyond their full retirement age can get additional money above and beyond what they'd normally get.
Yet despite the prospects of getting larger payments from Social Security, 62 is still by far the most popular age for people to claim their Social Security, according to the government's most recent data.
Fully 57 percent of Social Security recipients take their benefits before reaching full retirement age. That compares to just 10 percent waiting beyond full retirement age. A substantial portion of those who claim at full retirement age — currently between 66 and 67 for those approaching retirement age today — already were receiving disability benefits that automatically convert to retirement benefits at that point.
Waiting eight years to claim Social Security at 70 instead of 62 can boost your monthly payments by more than 75 percent — but at the cost of missing out on those eight years' worth of benefits. Most retirees either can't afford to wait or don't think the trade-off is worth it, despite some of the advantages of ensuring as large a reliable monthly benefit, which will adjust higher in line with the cost of living every year.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
Offer from the Motley Fool: The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. Forexample: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more... each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
Malibu residents who returned home after being evacuated because of the Woolsey Fire braced Tuesday for potential mudslides as rain is forecast for areas scorched by the blaze.
The County of San Diego announced last week that several new housing developments have been placed on hold.
News 8's photojournalist Karen Kelly captured a meteor plummeting to Earth through the Southern California sky early Tuesday morning.
After posting a $250,000 bail, 92-year-old Richard Peck, who is accused of shooting and killing his son while he slept at their Old Town residence, was released from jail.
Community members on Tuesday voiced their opposition to a proposed affordable housing project in Clairemont.
It began to look a lot like Christmas at Otay Ranch Town Center Tuesday night as young and old and children of all ages came out for the tree lighting and holiday themed farmer’s market.
The scorched Northern California town of Paradise should get its first significant rainfall in six months this week, a forecast that would at least interrupt one of the most horrific fire seasons in state history.
News 8 is happy to share an update on a recent story that will make you smile. Last week we told you about the strong winds that blew away all the sand at the Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Facility in Ramona.
With 79 people killed in the nation's deadliest wildfire in at least a century, there are still nearly 700 names on the list of those unaccounted for.
In 1996, a fire swept through the Harmony Grove community in North County, killing one man trapped inside his car. Now, the community is expressing their opposition to a new development project – saying it would create more traffic and increase the time it would take evacuate on a two-lane road.