The answer to your question depends on whether you will have more than five years with very few or no earnings. If you have only five, then the effect on your benefit should be slight at most. The reason for this is that in calculating a Social Security retirement benefit, the Social Security Administration considers only the 35 highest years during your working history. That said, you will want to make sure you consistently work in covered earnings for the remainder of your career to avoid seeing your Social Security benefit reduced because of years in your computation that contain no earnings or very little earnings.
Timing of retirement is a very personal decision. What is important is that it is an informed decision. Early retirement reductions and delayed retirement credits are roughly actuarially fair. That is, over an average lifetime the same value in Social Security dollars is paid whether benefits begin at 62, 70 or any month in between. In making your decision as to when to begin a Social Security benefit, you should consider the Social Security dollars you will need in combination with anticipated retirement income from other savings and assets.
Our Experts Answer Your Social Security Questions
For nearly 35 years, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has helped thousands of workers and retirees with a broad range of concerns on Social Security including when to file a claim, disability, spousal or survivor benefits or how the monthly payments are calculated.
Answering your questions is Webster Phillips, a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare for more than a decade, specializing in the Social Security program. Members of Congress and their staffs routinely turn to him for technical advice on Social Security. Web previously had a 31 year career at the Social Security Administration, beginning as a claims representative and later as a supervisor at Social Security offices in Illinois. In 1983, Web was selected as a management intern, and began a series of progressively more responsible assignments at the Agency’s headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Web’s extensive knowledge of the Social Security program and his experience with the legislative process continues to provide current and future retirees with the most informed and comprehensive answers to their Social Security questions.
If you have a question about current or future benefits for yourself or a family member, please use this form. To ensure that Web can send a personal response to your question, please make sure that you have entered your email address correctly. Due to the volume of inquiries, please allow 5-7 business days for a response.