Get a Bigger Check From Social Security

Choosing the right time to collect benefits can boost your income by thousands of dollars a year.

Not so long ago, some people planning for retirement wrote off Social Security as an endangered benefit and a marginal addition to their post-career income. But in an era of disappearing pensions and erratic stock-market returns, the idea of guaranteed income for life that keeps pace with inflation holds fresh appeal. Increasingly, near-retirees are becoming aware of the value of working longer and waiting to collect Social Security benefits until the benefits are worth more.

But there are also a few clever -- and perfectly legal -- ways to time the collection of your retirement benefits to increase monthly checks for you, your spouse and any minor dependents. Play your cards right and you could increase your household income by thousands of dollars a year now, plus ensure larger benefits later.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Mary Beth Franklin
Former Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance