By Adam Allington, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Taking Social Security benefits early comes with a price, yet more than 4 in 10 Americans who are 50 and over say they’ll dip into the program before reaching full retirement age.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll (pdf) released Thursday found that 44 percent report Social Security will be their biggest source of income during their retirement years.
Full benefits begin at 65 or 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. Americans can begin collecting as early as age 62, but with benefits reduced by up to 30 percent, according to the Social Security Administration.
“One thing we know for certain is that claiming early can have long-term repercussions on your fiscal security as you age,” said Gary Koenig, vice president of financial security at the AARP Public Policy Institute.
Koenig said benefits increase significantly for those who wait, rising around 8 percent more for each additional year past age 66 and up to 70, when benefits max out.
“So we encourage people to delay as long as possible,” he said.
But waiting is a luxury many Americans don’t have.
Ken Chrzastek of Chicago began drawing Social Security benefits at age 62 and pulled $50,000 out of an IRA after losing a retail job two years ago. He has been unable to find even part-time work. “Hiring a 62-year-old is a liability for a company,” he said.
The poll found that Americans 50 and over have multiple…