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Putting Off Social Security

social security

— Mitch Tobias/Masterfile

Q. I’m 62. How much more will I collect if I wait to file for Social Security until age 66, my full retirement age? What if I wait until 70?

A. Suppose you’d get $750 a month if you began drawing benefits now. If you waited until 66, you’d receive $1,000, an increase of 33 percent.

Although Social Security would define that as your “full benefit,” you could still collect more if you delayed collecting longer. Compared with full benefits, you’d receive 8 percent more for each year that you delayed after age 66. That means that holding off until age 70 would bring you $1,320 a month.

But that would be your peak—benefits don’t increase after age 70.

Because more people now live into their 80s and 90s, that boost can make a huge difference over time.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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