Social Security early retirement serves as a vital source of income. The dilemma is the same with everyone: the earlier you take it, the less you will receive; but you don’t want to wait too long. When you should access Social Security depends on your unique circumstances.

The information below will give you an idea of if you should seek Social Security early retirement. Keep reading for some advice on what is the best course of action for you and your family.

Social Security Basics

Seniors have an eight-year window in which to claim Social Security retirement benefits, from age 62 to 70. (You can file later than age 70, but there is no benefit to doing so.)

Depending on the year you were born, your full retirement age will be between 65 and 67. If you claim benefits early, they reduce by 6.67 percent per year for the first three years, then 5 percent each year after that.

Likewise, if you wait until after your full retirement age, you will receive an additional 8 percent for each year up until age 70. These adjustments remain for the rest of your life.

About one-third of all people claim Social Security as soon as they can. This makes 62 the most popular age for enrolling. Only between six and nine percent wait until 70 when they can get the maximum benefit.

Reasons for Waiting

The reason to wait as long as you can is obvious: to avoid Social Security retirement penalties and receive a larger benefit. This also impacts survivor benefits: if your spouse outlives you, you are limiting the amount they will collect as well.

One of the reasons people get Social Security early is the sense of urgency. “If I die in two years, what good does waiting do?”

Consider that the average woman who is 65 in America today will live until nearly 85; the average man until 83 (note that the COVID pandemic reduced these numbers from the previous year).

That may not mean you need to wait until 70 to claim Social Security. But the long-term financial benefits of waiting a few years to start collecting could