Social Security is Here When You’re Ready for Retirement

January 26, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Two older men video chatting on a smartphoneWhen you think you’re ready to retire, we’re here to help you make an informed decision about when to apply for benefits. You should decide based on your individual and family circumstances.

Would it be better for you to start getting benefits early with a smaller monthly amount over a longer period? Or perhaps wait for a larger monthly payment over less time? The answer is personal and depends on several factors, such as your current and anticipated cash needs, health, and your family history on longevity. Most importantly, you should study your future financial needs and obligations, and estimate your future Social Security benefit.

The best and easiest way to estimate your future Social Security benefits is with a personal my Social Security account. You can create your free account on our website. Use your account to see how much you might receive each month based on the age at which you want to start receiving benefits.

We encourage you to weigh all the factors carefully before deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits. This decision affects the monthly benefit amount you will receive for the rest of your life and may affect benefits for your survivors.

Social Security’s Online Retirement Resources

Whether you’re ready to learn about, apply for, or manage your retirement benefits, our online resources make it easy for you to find the information you need. How easy? You can do it from your computer, tablet, and even smartphone!

On our website, you can:

  • Get our publications.
  • Estimate your benefits with one of our many calculators.
  • Find your Full Retirement Age.
  • Learn about benefits for a spouse and family members.
  • Apply for benefits.
  • Manage your benefits once you start receiving them.

You and your loved ones can discover all these resources on our Retirement page.

Did you find this Information helpful?

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. A

    I have not yet claimed my SSA retirement benefit. I have viewed the “Plan for Retirement” section on mySSA and have explored and understand the estimator. Does the estimator factor in COLA? I’m trying to determine the timing for applying for and beginning my benefit to be sure I receive the new/next year’s COLA. For example, if I want to receive my first payment in January 2024, and I select December 2023 in my application, will that January payment include 2024’s COLA?

    • Patricia B.

      I will be 62 in January could you tell me what will I be getting

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Patricia. Great question! You can create a personal my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, your earnings record, and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. We hope this helps.

  2. Angela

    I am 62 U.S Citizen widowed and living & working in the UK. I have never filed for survivor benefits. I do not have enough credits for my own retirement benefits but I understand at retirement age of 67 I may be able to claim with my late husband’s SS contributions? I do not know where to start or who to contact

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Angela. We are sorry to hear about your loss. Since you are living outside of the U.S., please contact your local  Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  3. Jenny

    When should I apply for SS Benefits? I will be 66 and 6 months in September. When should I do the application? July, August or September?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Jenny. If you were born in 1957, your full retirement age is 66 and 6 months. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance. You can apply for your retirement benefits online at any time now. Remember that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of September, you will receive your first benefit payment in October. For additional specific questions, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.



  4. DM

    Please someone explain early SS Retirement to me. I don’t think my question is difficult HOWEVER the answer from SS office is a non answer.
    I signed up for early retirement starting month July 2022. I worked as a server and estimated my yearly estimated earnings of $22000. The annual limit was $19560.
    I received a notice per to the month of July, payment could not be made because of work. Monthly payments per Aug – Dec @ $1308.00 were received.

    My earnings for 2022 were $25,462.
    My monthly payment for 2023 was increased to $1,433.
    I received a notice in January of an over payment. I did not receive a payment in February.
    I lost my job. I am now estimating my earnings for 2023 under the limit.
    Payments were received March – June 2023.
    I just received a notice June 2023 that there was an overpayment of $1,642.
    I am so confused!
    I was a server estimating earnings is difficult.
    I enrolled in SS in July. I did not keep records of monthly earnings. They greatly differed pertaining to season and my hours.
    Being very generous
    Divide (Annual) $25462/12= $2121 per month
    Divide (Limit) $19560/12 = $1630 per month
    Difference $491 X 6 = $2,946.
    Deducted for “work” July 2022 $1308,
    Deducted for “overpayment” Jan 2023 $1421
    Total Deductions $2729
    Deducting for “overpayment” June 2023 $1642
    Total deductions =$4,371 ?

    What am I missing?

    -Question SS looks at your Annual Income
    even though you started collecting Mid Year?
    -Even if that was the case I went over the
    Annual limit by $5902.
    -Every $2 over limit $1 is deducted?
    -$5902/2 = $2960

    Sorry this is so lengthy I just can’t wrap my head around it

    • Ann C.

      Hi, DM. We are sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this is resolved soon. 


  5. William F.

    I want to know if I am receiving disability social security payments will I also be able to receive regular social security? I have searched the web site nothing on it ? I have called no live person and the automated teller dose not answer that Question? Help

    • Ann C.

      Hi, William. Thanks for visiing our blog. When you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the benefit amount remains the same. For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  6. Peter F.

    i applied for social security jan 7 2023 my wife applied for spousal benefits on march 1 i was approved spoke to a woman on the phone she told me i would get 1st payment may 26 so for no payment HELP

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Peter. We are sorry to hear that. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this is resolved soon. 

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