Your monthly retirement benefit will be higher if you delay claiming it
You can start receiving your retirement benefit as early as age 62, or as late as age 70. If you claim it early (before your full retirement age), your monthly amount will be reduced. On the other hand, if you delay claiming your benefit, your monthly amount will be increased for each month of delay. These adjustments are permanent for the rest of your life.
The increases from delaying your benefit can be large. For example, a worker with a $1,000 benefit at full retirement age of 66 would receive $750 a month if they start receiving benefits at age 62, or $1,320 a month if they delay until age 70. Married couples have two lives to plan for. If you are the higher earner, delaying starting your retirement benefit means higher monthly benefits for the rest of your life and higher survivor protection for your spouse, should you die first.
Other factors to consider
Deciding when to start receiving your retirement benefit is a highly personal decision, based on many factors that may be unique to each individual. For example, in addition to the monthly benefit amount, you may want to consider personal and family circumstances, including whether you are working or plan to work, current and future financial resources and obligations, and current and anticipated health and longevity. Intelligent Investing can provide advice to help you decide when to start receiving Social Security.
See When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits for more information to consider as you make this important decision.