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Written by Dr. Harold Wong   

How Social Security strategies affect your retirement

The Social Security press office has published a fact sheet that gives some interesting numbers.

In 2014, there are 39 million retired workers who receive $1,294 in average monthly benefits, 8.8 million disabled workers who receive $1,146 in average monthly benefits and 6.2 million survivors who receive $1,244 in average monthly benefits.

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly. Nearly 90 percent of individuals age 65 and older receive SS benefits. This represents about 38 percent of elderly income.

Among elderly SS beneficiaries, 52 percent of married couples and 74 percent of unmarried persons receive 50 percent or more of their income from SS. Among elderly SS beneficiaries, SS is 90 percent or more of the income for 22 percent of married couples and about 47 percent of unmarried persons.

Many workers take SS too early, given their retirement goals. An April 22, 2014, article by Mandi Woodruff, found on, cites new data released by the SS Administration.

For 2012, 37.2 percent of men and 42.4 percent of women took SS at age 62, the earliest age that non-disabled individuals can take SS. Only 5.2 percent of men and 11.4 percent of women waited until age 66 (considered your full retirement age for workers who turned 65 after year 2008) to start taking SS benefits. Only 1.2 percent of men and 2 percent of women waited until age 70, when one gets 32 percent more than age 66.

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Holyoke Enterprise July 10, 2014