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When to Enroll in Social Security

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advantages and disadvantages to Social Security

Published: July 7, 2021

Category: Educational

If you’re nearing your 62nd birthday, you’ve probably heard from the Social Security Administration (SSA) a few times in regard to signing up for your Social Security benefits. And, if you’re worried about not knowing what to do, don’t be. Social Security is a tricky concept, and signing up for your benefits is equally as confusing because there are many things you need to consider when signing up.


There are three ideal age categories in which you will want to sign up for these benefits. They are: 62, 66 and 70. Age 62 is the earliest in which you can sign up, 66 is your full retirement age and age 70 is the latest in which you can sign up. We will get more into the importance of these ages in a moment, but let’s first understand what Social Security benefits are and what qualifies you for them.


What are Social Security benefits?

Social Security benefits are payments that are made to retirees or to those who are disabled, as well as their spouses and family, as applicable. It is assigned as a partial replacement for the income for those who are qualified.


Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to Social Security:


  • Advantages:
    • Social Security makes it possible for you to receive healthcare. The payments that retirees receive could be used for health treatments that they otherwise would struggle to pay for.
    • The government insures Social Security. That means, regardless of the economic climate, you will receive your benefits.
    • Collecting unemployment will not reduce your Social Security benefits. This is because Social Security does not count unemployment as earnings. Of course, you must factor in your age to how much you will receive.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Inflation does not go toward calculation. What does this mean? It means your payments will remain the same forever, regardless of what happens. Let’s say your cost-of-living increases, meaning the prices for your housing, healthcare and others become more expensive. Your Social Security benefits will not be increased on account of this.
    • There are limits on eligibility. This means that not everyone who is of retiree age, or disabled, can qualify. This includes those who don’t have a steady work history or immigrants who came to the United States later in their lives. Before considering Social Security benefits, you have to decide whether you are eligible.
    • Working while collecting Social Security benefits may temporarily reduce how much you receive on payments. This is only applicable if you earn over a certain amount of money, however.


What makes you eligible to receive Social Security?

There are a lot of requirements that you must meet before you are fully eligible for Social Security benefits. On top of being a retiree or disabled, you must have been paying into the Social Security program during your years of employment and accrued 40 credits. You can earn up to four credits a year. A credit is earned whenever one makes a set amount of money. The number changes every year alongside inflation.


You must also apply for Social Security benefits. You can apply online with the SSA or over the phone by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. You are also able to apply for Social Security benefits in-person. When you apply, there will be information you need to expect to provide. Below are a few examples of what you should have prepared:


  • Your Social Security number
  • W-2 Form or self-employment tax return
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship — or Green Card, if you were born outside of the United States.
  • Financial institution information. This is information pertaining to your banking account, like your routing number.


The best time to sign up for social security

There’s not a blanket timeframe that applies to everyone in terms of when they should sign up for Social Security. However, the longer you live, the more appealing it is to take it later. This is because you’ll get more money for a longer amount of time. Easy, right? Well, unless you know exactly what age you’re going to live to, it’s hard to say. You can begin collecting benefits when you are 62, but the earlier you draw, the less you will receive on your payments. That works in reverse, too. The later you draw, the more you will receive on your payments.


Because no exact time is the best time, you should sign up for Social Security when it is best for you. A great way to get started on your discussion of which age is best for you to start drawing benefits is the Break-Even Analysis chart. This chart will compare how much money you’ll receive based on when you decide to sign up for Social Security — at age 62, 66, or 70. The chart will take into consideration your income and how much you will be making per month, depending on what age you are when you sign up.


Although this chart will help you get the ball rolling in your decision-making process, it should not be used when making your final decision. There are other things that you will need to consider when choosing to collect earlier or later:

  • Should you delay benefits?

    • The most important factor you should consider when delaying your sign up is your health. The healthier you are, you are more likely to be able to delay receiving your benefits. If you wait until you are 70 to receive your Social Security benefits, then you will receive a 32% addition in the number of benefits you receive.
    • If you are still able to work at 62, or you have other assets that will help with any pressing financial needs, you will also still want to consider delaying your claim. Because you will be taxed on that income, it’s best to wait if you know that you don’t need the money immediately.
    •  Another advantage to delay signing up for benefits is if you’re coordinating with your spouse. Talk with your spouse about a plan that best benefits the two of you, in regard to your ages, incomes and health.
  • Should you file early?

    • If you are unsure whether you will live long enough to reach the general life expectancy age in America, which is around 78.6 years old, then you will want to file early. This way, you will still be able to reap the benefits for as long as you can.
    • If you are prone to medical issues, and you need an extra income to help cover these expenses, it may be in your best interest to file early.
    • Consider how much money you’re making at the moment. If you’re in need of the extra income, it may be wise to get your benefits earlier. Or, if you decide you want to invest the money, you will want to get the money earlier. It’s important to note that when you pull your Social Security benefits at 62, you will receive a 25% reduction in the number of benefits you will receive. That reduction will remain in place and the amount will not change.
    • Advantages for taking your filing for your benefits early include unlocking another family member’s benefits, like your spousal benefit. Your spouse cannot file until you file, and vice versa. You will also adopt a higher spousal benefit when your partner files, especially if the 50% of their benefits that he/she gets is higher than the 100% you get.
    • You will also have extra cash to spend early in your retirement years.


Collecting your Social Security benefits early just because you have the option to isn’t the smartest move you can make. Instead, you need to focus on why you may need to sign up early. If you’re in a position to sign up when you’re closer to 70, waiting may be in your best interest. This doesn’t mean that you should hold off on collecting your benefits, either. If there is a reason in which you need to receive your monthly payments at an earlier time, don’t hold off for the sake of getting higher payments.

If you are having trouble deciding whether it would be best to collect early, wait until you’re at full retirement age or when you’re 70, then you’ve come to the right place. The Best Senior Services is dedicated toward ensuring you know what’s in your best interest, and we prove it by setting you up with an agent who will work with you to help you better understand plans based on your specific needs. Visit our website to get started or call us at 855.979.8277!