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In a perfect world, most would consider waiting until their full retirement age to file for Social Security. The longer you wait to claim your retirement benefit, your monthly Social Security payment becomes larger. However, some seniors apply for Social Security at age 62 as soon as they are eligible.
One of the reasons people apply at the age of 62 is they are attracted to a regular income stream. That attraction may grow if you find you need to retire sooner rather than later, and many people retire sooner than they anticipate. Looking at the 2022 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Retirement Institute (EBRI), 41% of workers aged 55 or older think they will retire after age 65; 29% believe they will retire at age 70 or later or never retire. Reality differs: EBRI polled more than 1,000 retirees this spring and found that 69% had retired before age 65. Many of us could live into our eighties or nineties or even beyond. Meanwhile, some of us are contending with chronic health issues or potential hereditary diseases. Claiming the "reduced" benefit available before you reach Social Security's full retirement age may make sense with all factors considered. The takeaway from all this is that claiming Social Security benefits is very much an individual choice – there is no "right moment" for everyone, just the moment that feels right to you with your financial picture in mind.1