It only makes sense to put in for benefits early in limited circumstances, said John Piershale, wealth advisor at Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
“If you’re going to take it at 62, if you’re single and you’re terminally ill and you know you’re not going to live very long, then you might go ahead and file early,” Piershale said.
Most other situations don’t make sense to claim early and take that permanent reduction, according to Piershale. Say you know you won’t live a long time, for example. If you’re married, claiming early could lessen the amount of benefits your spouse will have access to once you’re gone.
“You can still help out your surviving spouse,” Piershale said. “Once they get that survivor benefit, that’s permanent.”
Survivor benefits are determined by the age an individual dies and the amount of Social Security credits they had accrued. By waiting to claim benefits, you will have a greater number of credits, and hence a larger benefit, to pass on when you die.