Social Security benefits won’t be recalculated if claimed before FRA

Unfortunately, millions of Americans, including nearly 7 in 10 of those closest to retirement, are laboring under a dangerous misconception that could lead to the wrong choice. Here’s what it is.

Americans don’t understand the truth about this key Social Security rule  According to recent research from Nationwide Financial, 45% of millennials, 49% of Gen Xers, and 69% of baby boomers believe if they claim their benefits early, the amount be recalculated at full retirement age and their checks will increase.

This is simply not true.

Source: Social Security benefits won’t be recalculated if claimed before FRA

3 comments

  1. I am not sure about your second statement concerning about FRA.

    However, If I understand your first assertion about total payout amounts I think it goes like this: From the SSA website, the life expectancy for a male of my age today (58.1), I am expected to live until age 82.7. From my annual personalized social security report and based on my wages (as of April 1st), when I reach age 62 my early monthly amount is estimated (pre-covid-19) as $2147 a month. FRA age of 67, I will get $3049 per month and at age 70, $3781 per month.
    So doing the math: 82.7 – 62 = 20.7 years that I am “expected” to live. 15.7 years past age 67, and only 12.7 years past age 70.
    So at age 62 that would be $2147 per month x 12 months x 20.7 years = $533,314 total received by age 82.7.
    67 would be $3049 x 12 x 15.7 = $574,243
    70 would be $3781 x 12 x 12.7 = $576,224

    I would get about $43k less IF I lived to 82.7 yrs-old if I started collecting at age 62. I have done this calculation several years ago and there was almost no difference. Not sure what changed on my last statement other than I used to only live to age 78. Maybe because I lived this long I get bonus years for not doing stupid stuff?
    There will be more than likely COLAs for 5 years between 62 to 67 so my monthly amount would likely increase a small bit and close the gap some.

    Now if I live past age 82.7 I would be adding either $902 or $1634 extra each to that total because of the high monthly benefits compared to starting at 62. You can start collecting at age 64 if you qualify, but once you start collecting that is how much you get plus any COLAs. The only time it changes is if your spouse dies and if there is a spouse benefit adjustment.

    If you need money at age 62, take it. If you believe that you will not live to 70 may be you want to start early instead of spending down your IRAs. If you have a family history that lives into their 90’s or you are very healthy at 62, you might need more money during your 80’s and 90’s. Maybe there is a spouse to consider. There are so many variables that are different for each person.

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    1. It’s all actuarially based. The actual assumed retirement age for SS is 70. Anything paid before that incurs an actuarial reduction. In fact, no one is actually added to their benefit by delaying collecting they are reducing the reduction. Also, from a life expectancy point, the longer you live the longer you are likely to live. At 75 you are expected to live to an age greater than at 65 for example.

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  2. You are correct. A related assertion I have been told that the reduced amount results in the same amount of total lifetime income compared to the total lifetime income that you would receive claiming late. I am not sure how that works out, but I suppose the extra dollars person A receives while person B receives nothing waiting for his check to begin.
    I have been told that if your income is too high before FRA your checks will be reduced, but you will get the amount shorted back later so it really is not a permanent loss.

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