Veterans’ Law Attorney with Hook Law Center Explains Rules For Early And Delayed Social Security Benefits Claims
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2013 – A recent survey indicates many U.S. veterans are uninformed about the advantages and disadvantages of delaying or hastening the start of their Social Security benefits.
The survey, commissioned by financial publishing firm Kiplinger, found that more than 70 percent of veterans either underestimated the reduction in Social Security income incurred as a result of claiming benefits early, or admitted they did not know the costs. Moreover, nearly 90 percent did not realize the increase in benefits they could receive by delaying the onset of payments.
Veterans’ law attorney Andrew Hook explains the rules governing Social Security benefits.
“The Social Security Administration’s “normal retirement age” is 66 for those born in 1943 through 1954,” Hook said. “Benefits may be claimed as early as one’s 62nd birthday, but the cost of doing so is a permanent reduction in benefits of 25 percent. On the other hand, each year beyond age 66 that a beneficiary delays their claim results in an increase to benefits of 8 percent, up to a maximum of 32 percent.”
Of the veterans surveyed, 70 percent said that a Social Security office or the agency’s website is the best place to get advice about when to claim benefits.
“Social Security employees can and do impart accurate information as to the rules governing benefits,” Hook said. “But they are forbidden from offering advice on when an individual should begin taking benefits. Such advice is best obtained in consultation with an experienced veterans’ law attorney.”
The survey also found that of those veterans already collecting benefits, 80 percent had done so at age 62. Of those not yet collecting benefits, 68 percent said they planned to wait until normal retirement age or later.
“The decision of whether to accelerate or delay claiming Social Security is different for each individual, and many variables will factor into the decision,” Hook added. “The important thing is that everyone makes that choice in full knowledge of the consequences.”