As soon as you turn 62, you can claim Social Security benefits. But that’s considered filing early, and it has consequences. Since you’re claiming benefits before full retirement age (FRA), you’ll shrink the size of your checks and give up the chance to raise your income through delayed retirement credits, which are earned each month you defer benefits after FRA until age 70.
Despite these downsides, many people file at 62 anyway. One of the most common reasons is because they’re in poor health. If you wait to get higher checks but pass away while you’re young, you may get no benefits at all or less lifetime income than if you’d started at 62.
An early claim due to health concerns can make sense in some cases. But if you’re married and you were the higher earning spouse, it may be a really bad Social Security claiming strategy. Here’s why.