If you plan on starting your Social Security Retirement benefits at age 62, there are several things you need to know. To start your benefits you will need to schedule an appointment or apply online; the earliest you can call to schedule the appointment is three months prior to your 62nd birthday.
If you start receiving your Retirement benefits from Social Security at age 62, you will be receiving a reduced amount. Social Security reduces your monthly benefits by the number of months prior to your full retirement age that you start benefits. For most people, you will receive more money in the long run by drawing Social Security between age 62 and your full retirement age than you will by waiting.
The only catch is that your earnings from employment are limited. In 2006, the most you can earn without Social Security taking money away from your benefits is $12,480. For most people, the year you reach your full retirement age you can earn $33,240; the year after this there is no limit on your earnings. If you earn over the $12,480 limit, Social Security will reduce your benefits by $1 for every $2 you earn over the limit. The year that you reach your full retirement age if you earn over the $33,240 limit, Social Security will reduce your benefits by $1 for every $3 you earn over the limit.
To start receiving your monthly check you will need to prove that you are a US citizen. Social Security requires original documents so you will need to produce your original birth certificate or US passport. It takes Social Security about 3 months to process your application; you will receive an award letter letting you know how much you will receive and when shortly after they have finished.
If you are planning your budget based on the first Social Security check, remember that Social Security benefits are paid one month behind, so you may not receive your first check for two months after your birthday. For example, if you turn 62 in May, your first month of eligibility is June; you will receive the check for June in July.
To schedule an appointment to file for your Retirement benefits contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.