Posted on Saturday, 27th April 2019 by

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Most sign up long before age 70 for a myriad of reasons. I decided long ago that I would defer my benefit until I absolutely had to apply. Next month I start collecting Social Security at age 70 and can’t believe the time has come so quickly, yet I look forward to reaching this milestone.


Social Security was a life saver for my family when my father died in 1951 at the young age of 41. My mother was left with four small children, I was 22 months old at the time. There wasn’t any savings or insurance policies to fall back on, my parents lived paycheck to paycheck. Fortunately, we were able to collect Social Security which provided just enough for the basics.  Mother received $25 a month for each of us when dad first died, increasing to $36 in the late 1950s. Without it we would have been destitute. To this day, I don’t know how mom was able to handle everything on her own. She was a rock!

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

There are many options when signing up for Social Security benefits. The question for many is, should I take my benefit at age 62, 66, 70 or somewhere in between?  I wrote a comprehensive article about this subject last year that you will find helpful:

I decided to wait until age 70 for many reasons. First and foremost was my desire to provide my wife with the highest possible benefit upon my death. A surviving spouse can elect a death benefit that equals the full amount of the deceased spouse’s benefit. I have my annual Social Security statements back to 2011 when I was 62. My monthly benefit has almost tripled by waiting until age 70.

The Windfall Eliminate Provision (WEP) was another factor. It basically reduces CSRS annuitants Social Security Benefit if you have less than 30 years of substantial earnings years. FERS Social Security benefits are not subject to WEP.

If a CSRS retiree has 20 or less substantial earning years employment, where they paid into the Social Security system, their benefit can be reduced by as much as $463 in 2019. Since I continued to work in my business after retiring from federal service, I was able to accumulate 28 substantial earning years. My monthly benefit will only be reduced by $92.60. Actually, I intend to work as long as I’m physically and mentally able so each additional year worked will increase my Social Security benefit.

When I turned 66, full retirement age, I applied for Social Security and immediately suspended so that Mary could collect a higher spousal benefit. This action allowed me to grow my benefit 8 percent a year over the next 4 years.  Mary applied at age 62. Since I applied and suspended my benefit in 2015, I don’t have to reapply, my benefit will start automatically after my 70th birthday next month.

This safety net is a valuable asset for retirees and well worth what we pay into the system. I determined it will take me 7 to 8 years to deplete my contributions. If I’m blessed to live to age 78 or into my 80s, hopefully longer, I’ll still have these benefits to rely on as long as the politicians don’t take them away. If you are approaching age 62 explore your options and make the best decision on when to collect based on your personal situation. There isn’t any “one” right way. You have to do what makes sense for your circumstances.

Explore your options.

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools / Resources

Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.


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2 Responses to “Time to Sign Up for Social Security!”

  1. linda Says:

    One question:

    If I delay my SS claim to 70 years old, do I have to apply for it at my Full retirement age 67 then suspect it like you did?


  2. Dennis Damp Says:

    The only reason I applied and suspended at age 66 was so that my wife could elect to take a larger spousal benefit based on my earnings. I dont believe they allow that now, the rules changed. You would have to apply at age 70 or whenever you decide to start collecting you benefit. Call Social Security several months before the date you want to start your benefit or apply online.