Here's 1 Reason It Could Pay to Claim Social Security at 70

You have plenty of options when it comes to signing up for Social Security. The earliest age to take benefits is age 62. And you're entitled to your complete monthly benefit based on your personal wage history once full retirement age (FRA) arrives. FRA is either 66, 67, or somewhere in between, depending on your year of birth.

For each month you claim Social Security ahead of FRA, your monthly benefit gets reduced. And the maximum reduction you're generally looking at is 30%, which would be the case if you were to file at age 62 with an FRA of 67.

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However, there's also the option to delay your Social Security claim past FRA. Each month you delay scores you a slightly higher monthly payday. And all told, if your FRA is 67 and you file for benefits at age 70, your Social Security payments will get a permanent 24% boost.

Of course, the danger in delaying Social Security until age 70 is running the risk of getting less lifetime income from the program. If you pass away sooner than expected, that's a possibility.

But there's one scenario where it could really pay to delay your Social Security filing as long as possible. And it's one that might benefit your spouse more so than you.

When you have a much younger spouse

Having a spouse who's substantially younger than you doesn't guarantee that they'll outlive you, but it's certainly possible. And in that scenario, claiming Social Security at 70 could mean setting your spouse up with a lot more retirement income.

Let's say you earned a lot more than your spouse did during your respective careers. It therefore stands to reason that you might be in line for a much higher Social Security benefit than they are.

Once you pass away, your surviving spouse will be eligible for survivors benefits from Social Security equaling 100% of the monthly benefit you collected every month. So if you're able to boost your monthly benefit by delaying your claim until age 70, you'll potentially be giving your spouse the gift of fewer financial worries in your absence.

Now, it is important to remember that on a personal level, you may not benefit directly by claiming Social Security at 70. Let's say your monthly benefit at an FRA of 67 is $2,000. If you only end up living until age 78, you'll short yourself on about $26,000 of lifetime Social Security income compared to taking benefits at age 67.

However, you'll also boost your monthly benefit by $2,480 in that scenario. And that means that if your spouse outlives you, you'll be leaving them with almost roughly $30,000 extra a year in retirement income.

Putting your spouse first

Being married sometimes means putting your spouse's needs ahead of your own. Claiming Social Security at age 70 could mean doing the same in a financial context. But if you love your spouse (which is hopefully the case), then you may come to the conclusion that a delayed Social Security filing is the right move. Even if it doesn't benefit you so much, it might put your spouse in a far better financial position throughout their senior years.

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