3 Key Elements to Help Decide When to Claim Benefits

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Knowing when you should claim your Social Security benefits is becoming harder and harder it seems. Many seniors are often surprised by the difficulty of the decision, and the hoops we jump through to receive our own benefit. So how do we know when to move forward with our Social Security? Tom Wilk, reporting for the financial magazine BARRON’S, offers perspective on three key elements that might help with your decision.

Key Elements for When to Claim

Your age plays a huge role in the size of your benefit. Claiming before full retirement age lowers monthly budget, but not everyone can wait that long. You must weigh whether waiting or claiming early suits your needs individually. Wilks breaks the key elements down into his three Hs: Heritage, Health, and Human Nature.

The first key element is Heritage, meaning to learn from your family’s history. For example, understand that your parent’s life and work expectancy is different from your own. Learn from their mistakes and successes, not as family, but as individuals who achieved retirement.

The second key element — consider your immediate and long-term health. Many seniors claim benefits early due to poor health. If you’re a healthy person, it makes sense to hold off. Alternatively, if you have a history of disease in your family, or expect to slow down due to health, the benefits to claiming early might outweigh the cons.

Finally, the last key element factors in human nature. The Council for Retirement Security understands human nature, and that every senior is different. If you need your benefits, you should claim them; if you want them, maybe waiting is the better option. Help protect your benefits by joining the Council’s fight to defend the Social Security Trust and get what you want out of this next chapter.

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