6 Reasons Your Social Security Benefits May Be Smaller Than You Expect

You follow the rules as best you can and figure you’ll get what you’re entitled to when you finally claim Social Security.

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You follow the rules as best you can and figure you’ll get what you’re entitled to when you finally claim Social Security. But with this program, timing is everything. At best, you’ll have to wait at least a month after you file to get any benefit, and you may have to wait almost a year to get the full monthly amount. At worst, you could lose thousands of dollars in foregone benefits, even if the mistake is a timing error on Social Security’s part.

Here are six reasons your Social Security benefits may not live up to your expectations—and how to claim the highest benefits possible.

It is with a heavy heart that we report that the author of this slide show, Jane Bennett Clark, died in March 2017 of injuries suffered in a tragic accident. Jane was one of the finest reporters and writers ever to work for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Jane Bennett Clark
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
The late Jane Bennett Clark, who passed away in March 2017, covered all facets of retirement and wrote a bimonthly column that took a fresh, sometimes provocative look at ways to approach life after a career. She also oversaw the annual Kiplinger rankings for best values in public and private colleges and universities and spearheaded the annual "Best Cities" feature. Clark graduated from Northwestern University.