Why Your First Social Security Check May Be Smaller Than Expected

Those who wait until after full retirement age to claim Social Security but do so before age 70 may be disappointed in the size of their initial benefit checks.

(Image credit: Copyright 2012 Roel David Smart)

Delayed-retirement credits to boost Social Security benefits accrue month by month after you reach full retirement age, which is 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. If you rack up the maximum allowed by waiting until age 70, your first check will deliver the full power of those credits added to your benefit. But if you claim before age 70, you may be disappointed when you see the size of the first check deposited in your bank account. It won’t include the full power of the credits you have earned.

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Rachel L. Sheedy
Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report