September 20, 2017

Understanding Social Security

When approaching retirement, you may be faced with important decisions that will impact your financial future. One critical decision is filing for Social Security.

Social Security provides older Americans and disabled persons with a portion of the financial support they may need to cover essential retirement expenses. The notion is simple, but navigating the ins and outs – like when and how to start benefits – can be confusing.

Knowing the answers to the following questions will help get you started:

  1. What is my full retirement age? Full Retirement Age is the age you are eligible to begin receiving the entirety of the monthly Social Security retirement benefit you are eligible for based on your lifetime employment record. Historically, that meant age 65. Because times have changed, Social Security benefits currently start between age 66 and 67. This chart shows a person’s full retirement age according to the year they were born. This shows how a seemingly simple question is actually complex.
  2. How early can I start receiving benefits? Looking into your full financial picture when considering to start Social Security is important because you have options. The earliest you can turn on Social Security is age 62. Your Full Age of Retirement may not be till age 67, but you can begin a reduced monthly amount at age 62.
  3. Can I delay my benefits? Absolutely. Your Social Security monthly benefit payment will increase by a certain percentage if you choose to delay. These increases will be added automatically from the time that you reach your full retirement age until you start taking your benefits, or, until you turn age 70.
  4. Is it possible to work while I receive Social Security? The short answer is yes. However, there are some caveats. Once you hit your full retirement age you are able to work as much as you want without your paycheck affecting your Social Security benefits. On the flip side, if you decide to receive early retirement benefits and are still working your benefits will be reduced if you exceed certain income limits.
  5. Where can I check my benefits? Go to and click “My Social Security”. Once you create an account, you can view a record of your earnings and estimates of your Social Security benefits in early retirement, full retirement, and retirement at age 70.

Navigating Social Security can be intimidating. Consulting a financial professional who specializes in retirement and social security can make this decision less complex. To learn more, contact your 1st National Bank trusted advisors.

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