EAR HARRY: I'm going to hit 65 next month and my wife is 62. We've both worked almost all of our adult lives. Naturally, Social Security is on my mind. I've heard that there is any number of ways to take it. You have said that the people at the SS offices are well-informed and helpful. I disagree. The lady I spoke with was rude and condescending. She left me hanging. Can you give me some straight-arrow advice?
WHAT HARRY SAYS: Today's full retirement age is 66. It will start to go up in 2020. Getting a higher return requires you to take your benefits now under your wife's employment record. While you're doing that, your own record continues to get a hike each month. You can't benefit from this unless you're 66 or above. If you do it earlier, you don't get the benefit of the deferral, and you will get shorted on all future payments. There are two other choices of waiting until age 66. You can file for benefits, have your wife then claim on your record, then suspend your payments. This enables your benefits to grow during the period of waiting until it hits about 32 percent. Not bad! The other plus is that after reaching full retirement age there is no longer an offset of part of your work income against your SS. Also not bad!
Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com, or
write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.