4 seniors: When to claim Social Security benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY – Deciding when to begin collecting Social Security benefits can be a tough decision.

You can claim Social Security any time between the ages of 62 and 70, but each year you wait increases your benefit by 5 to 8 percent.

You need to take into account your health and family longevity, whether you plan to work in retirement and spousal or survivor benefits.

Social Security Administration claims specialists are not trained or authorized to give you personal advice on when you should start drawing your benefits. However, there are other sources that can give you information.

Your first step should be to visit the Social Security website to get your personalized statement that estimates what your retirement benefits will be at 62, 65 or 70.

Once you get those estimates, there are online tools you can use to compare your options.

Some free sites include AARP’s Social Security Benefits Calculator and SSAnalyze.

If you want a more thorough analysis, check out Maximize My Social Security or Social Security Choices, which both charge $40. These sites run scenarios based on your circumstances.

If you want human help, call Social Security Solutions. They offer several levels of web-based and personalized services that range from $20 to $500. The $125 advised plan runs multiple calculations and comparisons, recommends a best course of action and gives you a one-on-one session to ask questions. You can call them at 866-762-7526.