Free Tool Helps You Decide When to Claim Social Security

Photo (cc) by AFGE

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed a free calculator to help people determine the best age at which to claim Social Security benefits.

The federal watchdog agency’s calculator asks for a person’s date of birth and income. It collects the information anonymously, and then provides rough estimates of how much a person would receive in benefits at each claiming age.

Providing optional additional inputs, such as marital status and other sources of retirement income, yields additional details.

The age at which a person chooses to start collecting Social Security benefits can increase or decrease the person’s monthly retirement checks by hundreds of dollars.

More than one-third of people claim their benefits at the earliest possible age, 62, according to the CFPB. As a result, they limit the size of their Social Security checks for the remainder of their retirement.

For example, a recent CFPB report shows that people born between 1943 and 1954 receive monthly benefits of:

  • $750 if they claim Social Security at 62, the earliest claiming age.
  • $1,000 if they claim at 66, the full retirement age for people born during that period.
  • $1,320 if they claim at 70, the maximum claiming age.

That amounts to a difference of as much as $570 per month.

The nonprofit Consumer Reports notes that the CFPB’s calculator is free and does not require you to input personally identifiable information.

By contrast, the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Quick Calculator is also free, but requires a user to register and provide a Social Security number.

The firm Social Security Choices provides personalized reports that are more precise than calculator results, but are not free.

Visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center for a coupon code good for $10 off a Social Security analysis tailored to your circumstances and performed by Social Security Choices.

To learn more about maximizing Social Security benefits, check out “16 Ways to Get Bigger Checks From Social Security.”

When do you plan to begin taking Social Security? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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