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Social Security - Filing Early

Despite the growing awareness about the value of delaying the collection of benefits for as long as possible — about 50% of retirees still claim retirement benefits as early as possible - at age 62. Now, of course, some people may not have a pension or retirement plan to rely on, and have no choice but file for early benefits. But for many individuals, the decision to take benefits early or even delay them beyond their retirement age is an important one that requires careful planning to identify optimal solutions.

The disadvantages of filing early are:

  • Your retirement benefits will be permanently reduced. Any future increase in your benefits will be either the result of the cost of living adjustments or a switch to a higher spousal or survivor benefit. 
  • If you continue or go back to work while you file early and before you reach your full retirement age, you may be subject to an earnings cap penalty if you make too much money.
  • If you are married and claim benefits early, the survivor benefit available to your surviving spouse is also permanently reduced.
  • Since no other person can receive benefits on your work record unless you are receiving benefits, there may be times when early filing makes sense if the triggering of "auxiliary" benefits to spouses and dependents provides solutions to your financial decisions.

Another thing to be cautious of when you decide to receive benefits early is the potential earnings cap penalty for working before you reach your full retirement age. So if you begin collecting before you reach age 67, and then continue or go back to work, not only will your benefits be reduced because you filed early, but you may be subject to an earnings penalty that will reduce your benefits even further. However, once you reach your FRA, you can work as much as you want without being penalized.


At Carr Wealth Management, LLC, anyone who sets goals for themselves qualifies to be a client. Whether you need help creating a comprehensive financial plan or need advice on individual matters, we can help.  Choosing the best strategy for maximizing social security benefits is essential to planning for your future. Please contact us by email or phone us at (925) 484-1671 to schedule a no-charge consultation or if you have a question about Social Security Benefits. 

 Click Here for Examples on Early Filing

Click Here for Main Social Security page.

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