For Mark Roberts’ Use: Many people can’t wait for retirement. In fact, they’re so antsy that they spend considerable amounts of time hovering over their calculators, trying to figure out if they can go ahead and take the leap a few years early.

Others are facing an illness, or need to quit working to care for a sick spouse. Still others want to continue working, but are aware that they could go ahead and claim Social Security benefits at age 62. They wonder if that might be a smart idea, to help them pay down debt or afford other expenses before they actually retire.

The truth is, there is no single “right” time for everyone to claim their Social Security benefits, but if you’re thinking about filing your claim before you reach full retirement age (between 65 and 67, depending upon your birth date), there are a few things you should know.

Your benefits will be permanently lowered. Yes, you can claim benefits as early as age 62, but your checks will be as much as 25 percent lower than if you wait just a few more years until full retirement age. If you retire but receive certain types of pension payments (notably, government pensions) your benefits could be reduced or even eliminated if you claim them early.

You might not receive your full checks. If you’re still working when you file an early claim for Social Security, your benefits will be subject to a certain earnings limit. When you earn more than that limit, money is withheld from your checks (you’ll receive it later at full retirement age, though).

Longevity matters. If you’re in great health and your parents lived long lives, chances are good that you will too. If you’re looking at a retirement that spans a few decades, you might wish you had waited a few more years to reap a larger benefits check.

Timing your Social Security claim is a complicated matter. Call us to schedule an appointment, and we can help you estimate your potential benefits, calculate your living expenses, and explore other retirement income options.