Q: I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring early next year. When is the best time of year to apply for Social Security benefits? You can apply as early as four months before when you want your monthly benefits to begin. To apply, just go to www.ssa.gov/applytoretire. Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy!
Q: Will my retirement benefits increase if I wait and retire after my full retirement age? Yes. You can increase your Social Security retirement benefit in two ways:
• You can increase your retirement benefit by a certain percentage if you delay receiving retirement benefits. We will add these increases automatically from the time you reach full retirement age until you start receiving benefits or reach age 70.
• If you work, each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may result in higher benefits when you do retire.
Q: What is the earliest age that I can receive Social Security disability benefits? There is no minimum age as long as you meet the Social Security definition of disabled and you have sufficient work to qualify for benefits. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have worked under Social Security long enough to earn the required number of work credits and some of the work must be recent. You can earn up to a maximum of four work credits each year. The number of work credits you need for disability benefits depends on the age you become disabled. For example, if you are under age 24, you may qualify with as little as six credits of coverage. But people disabled at age 31 or older generally need between 20 and 40 credits to qualify, and some of the work must have been recent. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/disability.