How Much Does Waiting to Claim Raise My Social Security Benefits?

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If you’ve been watching your 401(k), IRA, ETF and stock investments drop in the bear market, you may be worried about your retirement plans. If your investments don’t regain their value soon, especially if you are nearing retirement age, you might consider waiting to retire.

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Alternatively, if your investments are doing well and you can live off your 401(k) and delay claiming social security, you’ll gain additional monthly benefits.

How to Raise Your Social Security Benefits By Waiting to Claim

If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you can claim Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, but your full benefit amount will be reduced by 25% until you reach full retirement age.

Full retirement age increases by two months for every birth year after 1954 up until 1960. So, people born in 1955 do not reach full retirement age until age 66 and 2 months. People born in 1960 or later reach full retirement at age 67. The percentage of benefits you can claim prior to full retirement age is also reduced incrementally for those born after 1954, according to SSA.gov.  

Retire Comfortably

If you can wait to start receiving benefits until full retirement age, you can claim 100% of your monthly benefit. But if you delay retirement, you will get additional benefits for each month that passes.

If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you’ll get 100.7% of your retirement benefits if you claim social security at age 66 and 1 month. That amount increases by roughly 0.7% for every month, reaching 108% at age 67. You can view the full chart of benefit increases at SSA.gov.

For those born later, their retirement benefits begin increasing incrementally after they reach full retirement age until they reach four years past retirement age.

If you need to retire, you can see if you can live off other investments until you are four years past your full retirement age.

The Importance of Claiming Medicare at Age 65

Regardless of when you are born and whether or not you claim social security benefits before you reach full retirement age plus four years, you should apply for Medicare when you reach age 65.

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Retire Comfortably

There is no advantage to delaying Medicare benefits. However, if you already have healthcare coverage through a group health plan from your job or a spouse’s job, you can sign up during a special enrollment period at any time up to eight months after your coverage ends.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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