What Should My Social Security Start Date Be?

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Deciding when your Social Security start date to begin your benefits is a significant financial decision that can impact your retirement income for the rest of your life. Whether you’re considering starting your benefits as early as age 62 or delaying until age 70, it’s essential to understand the implications and how to choose the right start date for your situation.

Understanding Social Security Start Dates

When you apply for Social Security, you’ll be asked to indicate the month you want your benefits to start. It’s crucial to note that Social Security benefits are paid a month behind. For example, if you choose March 2025 as your start month, you won’t receive your first check until April 2025. The application will ask for the month you want to be eligible for your Social Security check, not when you want to receive it.

Example Scenarios

Turning 62 in March 2025:

Suppose you turn 62 in March 2025. If you decide to start your benefits as soon as you’re eligible, you would select March 2025 as your start month on the application. However, since Social Security pays benefits one month behind, your first check would arrive in April 2025. It’s important to remember that starting benefits at age 62 means you’ll receive a reduced monthly amount compared to waiting until your full retirement age (FRA) or later.

Turning 70 in December 2024:

Now, let’s consider someone turning 70 in December 2024. If you choose to delay your benefits until age 70, you would select December 2024 as your start month. Your first check would then be issued in January 2025. Delaying benefits until age 70 maximizes your monthly payment, as you’ll receive delayed retirement credits, which increase your benefit by 8% per year beyond your FRA.

Factors to Consider

  1. Financial Needs: Assess your current and future financial needs. If you need income immediately, starting benefits early may be necessary. However, if you can afford to wait, delaying benefits can result in higher monthly payments.
  2. Health and Life Expectancy: Consider your health and family history. If you expect to live a longer life, delaying benefits can provide higher income over your lifetime. Conversely, if you have health concerns, starting benefits earlier might be more beneficial.
  3. Employment Status: If you’re still working, be aware that starting benefits before your FRA may result in reduced payments if your earnings exceed the annual limit. In 2024, this limit is $21,240. If you earn more than this, $1 for every $2 over the limit will be withheld from your benefits.
  4. Spousal Benefits: If you’re married, consider how your decision will affect your spouse’s benefits. Delaying your benefits can increase the survivor benefits your spouse may receive if you pass away first.

How to Apply for Social Security

When you’re ready to apply for Social Security, you can do so online at the Social Security Administration’s website, by phone, or by visiting your local Social Security office. The application will ask for the month you want your benefits to start. Remember, eligibility is based on the month, not a specific day. Therefore, you can’t choose a particular date within a month; you must select the month itself.


Determining the best Social Security start date depends on your unique financial situation, health, employment status, and personal preferences. By carefully considering these factors and understanding how Social Security payments work, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your retirement goals.

This article was published and distributed by SocialSecurity-Adviser.com, a trusted source of independent ideas. It should be viewed as general and educational information and not as financial, tax or legal advice. Individuals seeking advice tailored to their specific situation are encouraged to schedule a free consultation with a professional listed in the 1800Adviser.com directory. Both SocialSecurity-Adviser.com and 1800Adviser.com are owned and operated by The Independent Adviser Corporation. For additional information, please refer to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, Legal Notices, and Disclaimer.

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