The youngest wave of Vietnam veterans is now approaching Social Security age. On Veterans Day, to assist these and other military veterans determine the best time to start taking Social Security benefits, Kiplingers is offering veterans free access to its online Social Security benefits analysis tool. Kiplingers and Well Fargo are co-sponsoring the one-day offer, which is also free to active and retired veterans and their widows and widowers.
Determining when to take Social Security benefits can be befuddling. When you start collecting, whether you continue working, whether you are married and when your spouse begins collecting, all impact on how much you can collect. In addition, having been on active duty for certain periods can provide additional benefits. This and other information will be available at the Kiplingers site, and the information is sorely needed: according to one recent study, most veterans are not aware of the differential in benefits that occurs when collecting early rather than waiting. The vast majority begin collecting at the earliest possible age, 62.
To use the Kiplingers online tool, you must have your estimated Social Security benefits at full retirement age. You can find this on your account statement, or get the statement at the government's official Social Security site. Then log on to the Kiplingers veterans site and enter the requested information. After you run through the numbers, you can download your analysis benefits report (which usually costs $49.95).
For information about other kinds of benefits available for elderly or disabled veterans, and to access our law firm's booklet on V.A. pension benefits, click here.