Claim Social Security, Keeping Working…Or Both?

Officials within the Social Security Administration are floating the idea of raising the retirement age. Though no proposal is in play just yet, Congressional staffers are studying a rise in the age at which you can claim based on the idea that Americans are living longer.

This drastic step would be undertaken in response to try and to solve program’s solvency issue. Current projections predict that just 79% of benefits will be payable by 2035.

“Statistics have shown that healthier older people are generally more likely to work,” reads the report in part. “Older Americans can work longer today than in the past partly because they are generally healthier today than they were five decades ago.”

For millions of Americans, working into retirement may not be a choice but a necessity.

According to AARP, retired Americans are twice as likely to have a job after age 65 compared to in 1985.

There have not been any changes made to Social Security since the sweeping legislation passed under the Reagan administration in 1983.

One of the 1983 amendments to Social Security made its income taxable. The other major change was that it increased the full retirement age from 65 to 67.

This change was supposed to take place over a 22-year period, and is still being phased in today.

This new round of legislation would again look towards raising the retirement age as a means of solving Social Security’s cash flow issue. The idea behind this is that it would encourage workers to delay in claiming their benefits.

Thus, they would work longer and receive monthly benefits checks for a shorter amount of time.

Social Security today

As it stands now, retirees may start claiming benefits at 62.  In exchange for claiming early, their benefit checks are reduced.

Retirees that choose to wait until the full retirement age receive full benefits. For those retiring in 2021, the age is 66 years and 10 months.

However, if you delay even further, to age 70, you can recieve a bigger monthly increase to your monthly benefits check.

Workers that are eligible to claim full benefits at 66, would see an 32% increase in their benefits check if they delayed eligibility until age 70.

If a retiree instead chooses to start claiming benefits at full retirement age they will see a 24% increase in their monthly checks versus claiming early at 62.

Still, even with the financial incentive to delay benefits, many workers start claiming benefits early at 62. The year 2019 saw the largest group of first-time claimants who were aged 62, at 32.6%.

The next largest groups were those claiming at 66, 25.3%, and those claiming at 65, 12.6%. Those 70 or older made up 7.4% of first-time claimants.