Person using calculator

Three Reasons to Claim Social Security Benefits Now


Social Security is a vital source of income for most American retirees, but the optimal claiming age can be a complex puzzle. While delaying benefits offers long-term advantages, there are compelling reasons why claiming Social Security early might be the smarter move for some. Here are the three main scenarios where taking Social Security benefits at your full retirement age (FRA) or even earlier might be the best decision:

Need the Money Now

Let’s face it, retirement can be expensive. Even with careful planning, unexpected expenses or a lower-than-anticipated retirement income can create a financial strain. If you find yourself with a retirement income gap, claiming Social Security early can provide immediate financial relief.

Think about it this way. The guaranteed monthly check from Social Security can bridge the gap between your retirement savings and your actual expenses. Delaying might leave you struggling financially in the early years of retirement, impacting your quality of life.

 Uncertain Health

Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys a long and healthy retirement. If you have health concerns or a family history of shorter lifespans, claiming Social Security early ensures you get to enjoy the benefits you’ve earned. Don’t gamble on a future you might not have.

Imagine this: You delay claiming, expecting a larger monthly check later. However, health issues arise, forcing you to cut back on work or incur significant medical expenses. Claiming early allows you to access the benefits you deserve and potentially use them to travel, pursue hobbies, or simply enjoy a more comfortable retirement while you’re still healthy enough to do so.

Flexible Retirement Plans

Retirement doesn’t always mean stopping work completely. Many people choose to continue working part-time or even full-time in retirement, either for financial reasons, fulfillment, or social interaction. However, there are limitations on how much you can earn while receiving Social Security benefits before reaching your FRA.

Here’s the catch: If you claim Social Security before your FRA and continue to earn above a certain amount, your benefits might be withheld or even taxed. This "earnings test" doesn’t apply after your FRA. Claiming early allows you the flexibility to continue working without penalty, potentially increasing your overall retirement income.

Important Considerations

While claiming Social Security early can be beneficial in specific situations, it’s crucial to weigh the trade-offs:

Reduced Monthly Benefit: The biggest drawback is a permanently lower monthly check. For each year you claim before your FRA, your benefit is reduced by a certain percentage.

Loss of Potential Growth: Delaying allows your benefits to grow with inflation adjustments and the delayed retirement credit (DRC). Missing out on these increases can significantly impact your purchasing power over time.

Impact on Spousal Benefits: Spouses can claim benefits based on a higher-earning partner’s record. Claiming early can reduce the amount the spouse receives.


Deciding when to claim Social Security is a personal decision. While delaying benefits offers a larger long-term payout, claiming early can be the right call if you face financial shortfalls, have health concerns, or plan to continue working in retirement. Carefully analyze your specific circumstances, consider the potential drawbacks, and potentially consult a financial advisor to ensure you make the best choice for a secure and fulfilling retirement. Remember, there’s no single "correct" answer - the optimal time to claim Social Security depends on your unique situation.

Personal – Saving, Planning & Budgeting

Ready to explore how Sunflower Bank can assist you? Speak to a personal banker at a branch near you, contact a specialist on our Wealth Management team, or find the right financial partner on our Commercial Banking team for your business needs. 

Back to Resource Articles

This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.