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Thanks to the largest cost-of-living adjustment in 40 years, current Social Security recipients will receive an 8.7% increase in their benefits for 2023 starting this month.
If you are or have reached the Social Security retirement age of 62, you may be wondering if you should claim benefits to participate in the COLA increase.
Experts say that, in general, it’s still best to wait.
“Don’t feel like you’re going to miss out if you don’t apply now,” said Joe Elsasser, founder and president of Covisum, a Social Security claims software company.
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If you claim Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, your monthly checks will generally be reduced. Wait until full retirement age — in the range of 66 to 67, depending on when you were born — and you will receive 100% of the earned benefits. Defer even longer – up to age 70 – and you’ll earn up to an 8% premium for each year you delay reaching full retirement age.
According to Elsasser, COLA increases your so-called primary insurance amount every calendar year after you reach the age of 62 – the benefit that you are entitled to when you reach full retirement age.
As a result, people who turn 63 this year will receive the 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment whether or not they used their benefits, Elsasser said.
If they keep waiting, they’ll get higher benefits, too, as discounts for early enrollment are reduced, he said.
This year’s lesson for early retirees
What pensioners are now experiencing could also be a lesson for early retirees, said Elsasser.
For current beneficiaries, the COLA of 8.7% is calculated based on their benefit level. The longer you’ve waited to claim, the greater your benefit and the greater the COLA you’ll see.
Those who applied for Social Security early still receive the same COLA rate, but based on reduced benefit amounts.
To make up the deficit, they may have to tap their retirement investment portfolios for more money, assuming they have those assets to fall back on at all. And they may have to make those withdrawals from portfolios that have declined due to rocky markets just to maintain their standard of living, Elsasser said.
The lesson? “A bigger Social Security check certainly softens that blow,” Elsasser said.
Even if you are not about to start claiming benefits, you should do so regularly Check your Social Security statements, particularly to make sure your earnings are being recorded correctly, said Jim Blair, vice president of Premier Social Security Consulting and a former Social Security administrator.
“If there’s a bug, the sooner you spot it, the easier it is to fix it,” Blair said.
Even if you plan to wait until full retirement age or later to claim, it’s wise to keep track of your estimated benefit amounts, he said.
If you start doing it no later than your late 50s, you can plan other income streams for retirement, Blair said.
One question to keep in mind when deciding when to apply for Social Security is whether your spouse will also rely on your benefits for income. This can make a big difference to their standard of living when they die and they are forced to rely on an income.
“The longer you wait, the higher not only your achievement will be, but so will the surviving spouse,” Blair said.
There are reasons you might want to apply earlier, such as: B. If you have a child who may be eligible for benefits based on your records.
“You have to look at your entire situation before deciding when to apply,” Blair said.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/10/approaching-62-what-to-know-about-social-securitys-8point7percent-cola.html Approaching the age of 62? What you should know about Social Security’s 8.7% COLA