Waiting to Take Social Security: What You Should Know

Signed into law in 1935, the Social Security Act provides a variety of social safety and support services. The primary beneficiaries are retirees who can begin drawing benefits once they meet the age of eligibility. However, there is also an option to wait to begin drawing benefits.

Know What to Expect

If you wait to draw social security, you'll get a bigger check every month. How much bigger depends upon what year you reach full retirement age and how long you postpone collecting benefits. If you were born in 1943 or later, you'll receive 2/3 of 1% for each month that you delay collecting retirement benefits (8% more per year), up until age 70. So, for example, if your full retirement age is 66 and you delay collecting benefits for 4 years, your benefit at age 70 will be 32% higher than at age 66.

You can estimate your retirement benefit based on your actual earnings record using the Retirement Estimator calculator on the Social Security website (ssa.gov). You can create different scenarios based on current law that will illustrate how different earnings amounts and retirement ages will affect the benefit you receive. You can also visit the website to sign up for a “my Social Security” account so that you can view your online Social Security Statement. Your statement contains a detailed record of your earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. If you're not registered for an online account and are not yet receiving benefits, you'll receive a statement in the mail every year, starting at age 60.

Sign Up for Medicare

Even if you plan on waiting until full retirement age or later to receive Social Security retirement benefits, consider signing up for Medicare. If you're 65 or older and aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits, you won't be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You can sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

Because Medicare Part A is premium-free for most people, you should consider enrolling in Part A, even if you delay enrolling in Part B. Some people decide not to enroll in Part B when they're first eligible because they have other health coverage through an employer or another source.

The Social Security Administration recommends contacting them to sign up three months before you reach age 65, because signing up early helps you avoid a delay in coverage. For your Medicare coverage to begin during the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the first three months before the month you turn 65 (the day your coverage will start depends on your birthday). If you enroll later, the start date of your coverage will be delayed. If you don't enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period, you may pay a higher premium for Part B coverage later. Visit medicare.gov or call the Social Security Administration to learn more.

If you have questions about funding your retirement, make an appointment to speak with a Farm Bureau financial advisor about your options.

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Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2020. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.