Social Security: Claim Now, Claim More Later
September 8, 2014 | Your Finances
Editor’s note: Legislation signed into law on November 2, 2015 will end the strategy discussed in this article for people who have not turned 62 by the end of 2015. Download our free Social Security guide to learn how you can still maximize your Social Security benefit.
There are a number of strategies you can use to maximize the benefit you will get from Social Security. The easiest way to get a larger benefit is to wait longer to claim your benefit. If you wait to start receiving your benefit until age 70, your benefit will increase by a flat 8 percent each year (plus any cost-of-living increases) from your full retirement age until you turn age 70.
But if you’re married, it’s possible to claim benefits at your full retirement age, and then claim even more when you reach age 70. How? One member of the couple, usually the one who earned less, claims his or her own retirement benefit. This can be done as early as age 62, although the benefit will be reduced. The other member of the couple, who has reached full retirement age, can claim spousal benefits and let his or her own retirement benefit continue to grow until age 70. At age 70, the recipient “switches” to his or her own retirement benefit, which has grown by 8 percent per year.