The last couple of months, I am seeing the same questions quite a bit. Primarily from my 64 and 65-year- old’s. I’ve been laid off or furloughed. I was going to wait a few more years to retire, but I think I want to retire now. Should I take my Social Security income now or wait. Oh, and that Medicare part B that I was going to wait on, let’s get that started now too.
The SS question really depends on you. How’s your health? What kind of longevity do you have in your family? Are you married and have some additional choices? Are you divorced and not re-married and have even more choices?
I would have to write a book on Social Security to answer all the variables. But let’s tackle a couple here. Medicare is the first thing you need to think about. Call your HR department and let them know that you are Medicare-eligible. Ask if you can keep your current coverage after your employment is finished and how much will it cost. Remember to break out the cost for employee only and employee and spouse. Ask if you must have Medicare with your retiree insurance. Then look at all your Medicare options and decide if you want to stay on the retiree plan or go to a Medicare plan. If possible, give yourself as much leeway as you can, preferably 3 months from your retirement date. If you decide to go on a Medicare plan, you will need to ask your HR department for a Letter of Creditable Coverage. You will need that, so you don’t get penalized for not getting Medicare in time.
As for collecting Social Security now or waiting, that too will depend on your needs as well as your life expectancy, among other things. If you’re healthy and think that you have a long-life expectancy and don’t need the money, waiting till your 70 will give you the most monthly income. This strategy will also give your spouse a larger spousal benefit should you die first. Your Social Security income will increase by 8% every year that you wait past your full retirement age. That said, if you take it early, you collect a smaller monthly amount, but you will be collecting, presumably, longer. So, what’s best? The answer will be different for everyone. But, if you need the income, by all means, take it no matter how much it could have grown to. If you get rehired, you can always stop it and start again later.

-Stay safe, stay cool.

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