How to claim your Social Security benefits early

To claim or not to claim

The reality is that there are not many ways that you can claim your Social Security benefits early. The earliest you can collect your regular Social Security benefits is at age 62. This will result in a greatly reduced benefit.

It is a very serious decision that has to be weighed. Will the extra three or four years of benefits being collected justify the reduced rate that you will collect at for the remainder of your life?


Step 1

When you are 61 years and 9 months old you have a serious decision to make. Will you apply for early Social Security Benefits or will you wait to the age when you can receive full benefits. There are many factors that will affect this.

Do you currently have a good job?

Do you plan to continue to work?

Do you financially need the money now?

This is an important decision, once you have made it, there is no turning back.

Step 2

Once you have made the decision to apply for early benefits the best place to go for directions is the official site of the Social Security Administration.

There are three ways you can apply for early Social Security Benefits if you live in the United States.

  • The Offical Social Security website
  • A local Security Office
  • By calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213

If you are living outside the US you can go to the US Consulate or Embassey to apply.

Step 3

The online form is four pages long and should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. It is important that you have certain documents to prove who you are. The documents you will need are

  • A copy of your Social Security Card
  • A certified copy of you birth certificate
  • Your W-2 form from the previous year
  • Proof of citizenship or if not a citizen, your alien registration

Don’t worry about not getting your originals back, copies will be made and they will be returned to you.

Step 4

Taking Social Security early means that for the rest of your life, which if you live to be 90 is 28 years you will get approximately 25% less each month than if you work to age 66 or 67 and then collect for 23 or 24 years. Only you can decide if the number make sense for you.

Things Needed
• W-2 form
• Proof of citizenship
• Birth certificate
• Social security card

Tips & Warnings
• Carefully weigh the decision to take your Social Security benefit early, it is a permanent decision.


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