Yesterday I wrote about the new Patty Duke advertising campaign encouraging baby boomers to sign up for Social Security online. One ad depicts Patty Duke, in character as an older version of Cathy Lane from the 1960's sitcom The Patty Duke Show, sitting at her laptop and encouraging her cousin Patty Lane to sign up for Social Security online instead of going to the Brooklyn Heights Social Security office.
In real life, however, Duke, 62, has not yet signed up for Social Security. “For our ad campaign her characters from The Patty Duke Show, cousins Patty and Cathy Lane, are filing online for Social Security,” says Mark Hinkle, a spokesperson for the Social Security Administration. “Patty Duke herself has said she plans on waiting a few years.”
Delaying claiming Social Security makes good financial sense for healthy people who think they might live a long life. Duke’s check amount will increase by approximately 7 percent for each year she delays claiming between now and her full retirement age, 66. (You can find your full retirement age here.) After age 66, her benefit checks will further increase by about 8 percent each additional year she delays claiming up until age 70. After age 70, there is no added benefit to delaying claiming your due.
Signing up online, though, provides a nice convenience. “Social Security’s new online retirement application can be completed in as little as 15 minutes from the comfort of your home or office,” according to Michael Astrue, commissioner of Social Security. “Filing online means there’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.”
Astrue says 80 million baby boomers will become eligible for retirement at a rate of 10,000 a day for the next 20 years. I certainly don’t want to wait in that line.