Q: Our small company has, of course, suffered due to the Coronavirus. A few employees who had to take pay cuts are considering applying early for their Social Security benefits, rather than continuing to work at reduced pay. Where can we point them for information about this decision?
A: SSA.gov has the most up-to-date, accurate and complete information available on the subject of Social Security. There, people can obtain a statement of how much to expect when they begin receiving payments. Whether or not to begin payments is an important decision with lifetime implications, and it is important for those employees to understand that. Taking benefits early will mean a lifelong reduction in monthly payments. Yet, when the economy takes a downturn, the first inclination of people who are eligible may be to start their benefits early; according to the Center for Retirement Research, about 42% of people who were 62 in 2009 — 1 year after the stock market drop in 2008 — signed up for their benefits. That was a nearly 5% increase over the prior year. An April 9, 2020, post on the Squared Away Blog from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reminds readers of the considerable financial cost of starting Social Security benefits early. Click here to read more.