Starting Social Security Payments

When you decide to start receiving your Social Security payments is important. It's a decision that will affect the amount of your monthly payment and how long you receive payments during retirement.

Basically, you have two options: 

  1. Receive lower monthly payments for a longer period of time
  2. Receive higher monthly payments for a shorter period of time

If you retire before your normal retirement age, as established by the Social Security Administration, you'll receive a lower monthly amount. But those additional years of receiving benefits may compensate for the lower payments. If you anticipate a shorter retirement or have other sources of retirement income, then receiving higher monthly payments may make up for the shorter period of time.

The Social Security website's quick calculator may help you decide when to begin receiving benefits. It estimates your benefits depending on your date of birth and estimated earnings history.

Consider everything

Other things to consider before starting your Social Security payments are:

  • Will you continue working?
  • Will you have health insurance?
  • Are you eligible for Social Security benefits from someone else?
  • What other sources of retirement income will you have?

Your Social Security benefits last as long as you live.  Life expectancy is improving so your retirement could last longer than you think. You'll want to start receiving your benefits at an age that will provide you with sufficient income for as long as you need it.

To see the big picture of how much income you may need to fund more years in retirement, use the My Interactive Retirement PlannerTM.

Get the help you need

Consider what you need to do now to enter retirement with financial confidence. Talk with one of our Retirement Specialists for more information. Neither Nationwide nor its representatives may offer tax or legal advice. You should consult your own counsel before making decisions about starting to receive Social Security income.

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