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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

At what age should I begin taking Social Security retirement benefits?

En español | There's no single "best age." It's a personal decision. The basic question is, should you start your benefit early, at 62, at a REDUCED amount, or start it later at a higher level? If you wait, your monthly check will keep rising, by about 8 percent a year, until you hit 70. Social Security sets the amounts so that if you live to the average life expectancy for someone your age, you'll receive roughly the same amount of total benefits over your retirement, no matter when you start taking them.

Factors you'll want to consider when making your decision include your health, your family's history of longevity, your need for income, your other sources of retirement income, and your plans (or lack of them) to continue working after you start benefits.

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