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Stretching Your Dollar: How to get the most from Social Security

Erin Thompson from the Social Security Administration explains what to consider before you retire.

We all need Social Security when we retire, but there are so many variables as to when to claim your benefits and how much more money you can get by just waiting.

It's your money; remember that. It's paid in through years of working. Your benefits are calculated by how long you work, how much you made each year, inflation and what age you begin taking benefits.

If you want until full retirement age at 66 or 67, let’s say you’ll get $2000 a month. If you retire at 62, you’ll get 25% less, roughly $1500. But, if you work until you’re 70, that's 25% more at about $2500 a month.

But the gamble is, what’s your life expectancy? What's your family history?  

“Life expectancy is huge. If all in your family are dying by 75, it's best to take that check early as you possibly can. File two to three months before you want benefits at 62. Living 'til 85? Consider pushing it back a little bit. There are a lot of factors—are you still working? There’s an earnings limit 'til full retirement age," Erin Thompson from the Social Security Administration said.

The best way to get answers is go on the Social Security Administration website, call 1-800-772-1213 or make an appointment at the Social Security office.

What’s the biggest mistake people make with Social Security? Dan Cummins will fill you in Monday, July 29.