Study: Only 4% of retirees claim Social Security benefits at the right time

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WOODBURY -

A new study shows that only 4% of retirees begin to claim Social Security at the most financially optimal time.

The study was conducted by online financial planners at United Income.

Under the law, people can start claiming Social Security benefits at age 62. But at that age, experts say benefits are greatly reduced.

“There is a great fear that if you don't take Social Security as early as possible you may not live long enough to enjoy it,” says Michael D. Kresh, a financial planner. “But that's a fear. That's not necessarily a reality.”

Kresh says he understands waiting to apply for benefits may not always be the best choice for some retirees who might need the money now. But he says waiting a few years until 66 or 70 could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra money because people are living longer nowadays.

While there is no one optimal age when to apply for Social Security benefits, financial planners say it’s best to have an expert run the numbers before applying for them.

Some retirees told News 12 that they knowingly took the lower amount because it's expensive to live on Long Island. They also said they are worried that Social Security is going to run out.

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