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When Can I Get Social Security Retirement Benefits?

There are so many misconceptions and myths out there regarding the Social Security system, its hard to know where to start debunking them. In the coming months in this column, I will break down some of these issues and make them as clear as possible.

In recent years, the Social Security Administration has tried to prepare for the oncoming onslaught of retiring Baby Boomers by giving retirees options as to the age at which they begin receiving their retirement benefits. While it is true that you do not have to wait until 65 any longer, it is important to know the pros and cons of electing early benefits.

First, in order to be eligible at all for retirement benefits, you musty have accumulated 40 “quarters” throughout your work life. A “quarter” correlates with each quarter of the calendar year so it is possible to total four quarters each year. If you are in your sixties and retiring, chances are you have plenty of these quarters to qualify.

If 65 seems likes a long way off but you could sure use that monthly check, Social Security allows you to start collecting when you turn 62. However, you will be shortchanging yourself in that you will receive only 70% of what you would have been entitled to. In order to get the full amount you used to be able to get at 65, you now must wait until you are 67. Electing benefits at 65 will now get you just 86.7% of what you’ve earned over your worklife. Only the other hand, if you can tough it out until 70, you will get 124% of what you would have gotten at 67.

If all this math seems confusing, there is a simple solution. Check out the Benefits Calculator on Social Security’s website,, where you can get an exact dollar amount for any scenario you are contemplating.

Next month, we’ll take our first look at Social Security Disability and what the medical requirements are to qualify. We’ll look at age, severity of disability and other qualifying factors. I’ll also give you tips on how to position yourself perfectly for approval for social security disability.

Until then, I’m available to answer any questions you have about Social Security Disability Insurance or Workers Compensation Law. Remember, the government and your employer have information that you do not so its more important that ever to have as much information as possible!