3 Reasons Why You Should Start Collecting Social Security Benefits at Age 62
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Yes, it's probably best to wait until you're 70 years old to start taking Social Security Benefits (SSB) but there are good reasons to claim your benefits early, and good reasons to claim them late.
Before you'll assume that it's a no-brainer to delay as long as possible, remember that those collecting smaller checks will collect many more of them, making up for much or all of the difference. On the surface, that certainly sounds less appealing than waiting and getting a bigger check.
However, claiming "SSB" as early as age 62, is not always a bad idea and there are three specific circumstances when I think filing early actually makes the most sense. Here they are:
1) You're in Poor Health
Retirement can last 20 or 30 years (or more) if you're a healthy senior, but unfortunately, many people develop illnesses as they age. That's why planning for healthcare costs in retirement is so important.
If you're in poor health, you may need the extra money that Social Security benefits provide. And, sadly, if your prognosis for a long life isn’t great—especially if you have some chronic conditions yourself or a family history of them—taking Social Security early should definitely be on the table.
2) You Haven't Saved Enough For Retirement
When you approach retirement age, you may suddenly realize that your savings fall short of the funds you need. Studies show as many as 45% of baby boomers have nothing saved for retirement. So, if you’ve just lost your job for good and have little or no retirement savings, you have very little choice: Take Social Security at 62 and get on with life.
3) You Need the Income
There’s not a lot to think about here: If you’ve left/hate your job, plan to retire, and need the income, you just need to go file and start collecting your benefits.
A lot of people leave work long before they actually want to leave, or planned to do so. In fact, the Employee Benefit Research Institute did a study in 2018 and found that among those retiring, 46% were retiring before they wanted to:
55% of those individuals surveyed retired because of a health concern or disability
24% of workers left because their company was either downsizing or going away completely
17% of respondents were leaving work to care for a spouse or some other family member
Additionally, continuing to work in your industry simply might not be possible or healthy for you later in life. If your job requires manual labor, you might decide the risk of injury or other damage to your health isn't worth continuing to work. In this case, the healthier lifestyle you'll get by retiring early could outweigh the smaller monthly Social Security benefit.
The Bottom Line
If your health is not up to par, you haven't saved enough for retirement, or that you left/hate your job and its basically time to hang it up, claiming benefits at age 62 may make sense.