Would It Be A Big Mistake For Me To Start Collecting Now?

Mar 12 2017 - 7:15am

My husband was born Jan 1, 1949. I was born June 7, 1952. He has been collecting SS since age 62 due to his asthma. His paltry $600 got reduced to half due to WEP. This happened last year. We also had to pay back about $15,000. (WEP occured because he worked for a Japanese company for 1 year.) I would love to start collecting Social Sec benefits simply because we just need the extra money but I'm also concerned what Trump Administration could with do with the program and I'm thinking get in now while I still can. I would continue working because I can't live on SS alone. I earn between $36,000 - $40,000 a year. Do you think it would be a big mistake to start collecting now which would be $1351. If I wait until 66 it would be $1496 and at age 70 it would be $2032. Thank you!

Hi,

No one knows what the future holds, but I believe that your best strategy would likely be to file for spousal benefits only at age 66, and wait until age 70 to file for your own retirement benefits. This option is still available to you because you were born prior to January 2 1954 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html). Since your husband's benefit rate is lower than your own, you won't be able to count on higher widow's benefits at any time in the future. So, if you take your own benefits early, you will be stuck with a significantly lower monthly rate for the rest of your life.

Furthermore, your expected earnings this year would cause you to lose most of your 2017 benefits if you file now (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). Before you file, you should strongly consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to fully explore all of your options and determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry