Dear Savvy Senior, How much does your claiming age affect your Social Security benefits, and what are the most popular ages people start taking their retirement benefits? — Nearing Retirement

Dear Nearing, You can sign up for Social Security at any time after age 62. However, your monthly payments will be larger for each month you delay claiming them up until age 70. This adds up to about 6 to 8 percent higher payments every year you delay.

To get a breakdown on exactly how much your claiming age affects your benefits, go to Social Security’s Retirement Age Calculator at SSA.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/ageincrease.html. This tool provides your official full retirement age — which is between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year — and shows how much your benefits will be reduced by taking early payments or increased by delaying them.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or go to SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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