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Issue Brief: Social Security claiming age and retirement security

Annually more than 2 million consumers make one of the most important financial decisions of their lives: choosing when to begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Yet, many make the decision based on limited or incorrect information. As a result, many consumers start collecting benefits at the earliest possible claiming age without understanding that by claiming early, they receive a reduction in benefits that can threaten their financial security in retirement. This lower benefit amount could be especially problematic in later life when medical and health costs may be at their highest, and Social Security becomes the primary source of income in retirement. This brief describes the existing research on this issue and provides a set of recommendations to help consumers plan ahead for this important financial decision.

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