Filing the social security application to receive the retirement benefits is the first step. Social security payments are automatically paid for the previous month. The recipient will receive a check one month from the date of the determined entitlement. The date of entitlement is the month in which the recipient meets the age requirements to qualify for social security retirement benefits. If the month of entitlement is March, the recipient will receive a check for the month of March in the month of April.
Officially the social security age for retirement is determined by the year of the recipient’s birth. A retiree can begin receiving benefits early when they reach the age of 62. The exception to this age requirement would be if the recipient is a widow or widower and has not remarried; qualifying at the age of 60. They can also delay social security benefits until the age of 70.
Collecting at the earliest age will reduce the amount of monthly benefits to the retiree. If the recipient applies for social security at the earlier age of 62, the benefits will be reduced by a specific percent each month before the full age of retirement. The advantage of taking social security early is that the recipient may collect benefits over a longer period of time, even though the payment amount is reduced. If the recipient delays collection of social security, the payments are higher over a shorter duration of time.
The Social Security Administration suggests that retirees review the annual report mailed to all taxpayers. The report discloses the benefit amounts for both early participation and delayed retirement in the program.