The main advantage of getting Social Security benefits early at age 63 is that retirees receive payments for a longer period of time, reports the Social Security Administration. This may be a good option for those who lose their jobs, are in poor health, need cash immediately to make ends meet or want extra cash to enhance their quality of life upon retirement, advises CBS News.
Although those who initiate Social Security benefits early receive more payments, the SSA permanently reduces their payments for every month that they receive them before full retirement age, explains the SSA. Individual situations vary, and people should take their specific circumstances into consideration when contemplating taking early benefits. For instance, those anticipating shorter life spans may choose to start benefits early, according to CBS News. Early benefits also help people who become unemployed and are unable to find work or whose disabilities preclude further employment. Additionally, people who perform heavy physical labor may not qualify as disabled but be less able to handle their workloads as they get older, and early Social Security benefits give them an opportunity to retire, points out Nolo.
People generally receive the same total amount of Social Security benefits over their lifetimes whether they opt for early or late retirement, according to the SSA. Either they receive smaller amounts longer or larger amounts for a shorter time. Beneficiaries can use charts and calculators on the SSA website to estimate their benefits from the earliest possible retirement age of 62 to the maximum age of 70 to help them decide when to initiate payments.