Pulaski County residents who are nearing retirement age can increase their lifetime income if they can wait a bit to start drawing Social Security benefits.
In Pulaski County 8,770 residents—or 13.8 percent of the population—are aged 55 to 64. Those are the years when folks start thinking seriously about retirement.
Workers can start taking Social Security at age 62. But for those who can wait, the benefits go up.
“If you need Social Security early, take it—you’ve earned it,” said Virginia Reno with the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. “But waiting even a year or two can make a big difference in the long run. The extra benefits are there for life.”
Payments increase by 5 to 7 percent for each year of delay between ages 62 and 66, and by 8 percent for each year of delay between ages 66 and 70. The increases stop at age 70.
For someone who can wait until age 70 to take Social Security, the reward is a lifetime monthly benefit that is 76 percent higher than if taken at age 62.
For example, a worker who qualifies for a Social Security benefit of $750 at age 62 would receive $1,000 by waiting until full retirement age (66 for people born in 1943 to 1954). By waiting until age 70, the retiree would receive $1,320 a month.
The higher benefit would also be the basis for future inflation adjustments.
Around Kentucky, only about one in four residents who are currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits waited until full retirement age to start their payments, according to the Social Security Administration.
In Pulaski County, 10,060 residents received retirement benefits from the federal system, according to 2012 figures.
The average recipient of Social Security retirement benefits in Pulaski County received $1,073 a month in December of that year. On an annual basis, that brought $129,540,000 in income to the area—6.7 percent of all personal income in the county, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.