Baby Boomers Big Social Security Decisions

Remember 1969 and we were that young?  Today Baby Boomers wrestle with the tough decision about when to take Social Security. Do you take it at 62, or 65, 66 or 70?  

Mike Katz is grappling with that big question now. He works for a government agency and is almost 65. His wife Irene is about to turn 64. Like many of us, Mike and Irene are concerned about their retirement finances and Mike shared their story with us:

Savings and Retirement Sign“We’re both going to retire in two years or so.  I will have a small pension from the Feds and Irene will have a small pension from a previous job. 

We rent out a ground floor apartment in our house.  Adding these annuities, we are about $30,000 short of our current yearly expenditures (everything, necessities and optionals). 

So, we need Social Security to fill the gap, but if we take our benefit at full retirement age, we are more than covered.  Our retirement savings are more than enough to cover us if we decided to wait until 70 to begin collecting Social Security. In a serious pinch, we have scads of equity in our house.


Here’s the twist. 

Our younger daughter, Sara, has autistic spectrum disorder and receives SSI.  My understanding is that when we start to collect Social Security, she is entitled to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) at half the amount that either Irene or I collect, whichever is greater. 

Courtesy Creative Commons via Flickr
Courtesy Creative Commons via Flickr


Our decision about Social Security affects Sara.  Sara is a lovely girl and is relatively high functioning but she will never be able to support herself and will need SSDI for the rest of her life.




My current thinking is that Irene should take her SS at full retirement age, 66, so that Sara can receive SSDI.  I’ll wait until 70 to collect to maximize my benefit and Sara’s. This assumes that the program continues and that Sara is still deemed eligible to receive benefits.

I don’t think our situation is that unusual.  I wonder what other people know about the relationship of SSDI to Social Security.  I know I still have a lot to learn.


readmoreWill Social Security Be There For Me and My Family? 

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.