You receive the highest benefit payable on your own record if you start collecting Social Security at age 70.
Once you reach your full retirement age, or FRA, you can claim 100 percent of the benefit calculated from your lifetime earnings. (Full retirement age is 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956 and 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957. It will incrementally increase to 67 over the next few years.) But if you hold off a few years, you can earn delayed retirement credits that increase your eventual benefit — by two-thirds of 1 percent for each month you wait.
For example, if you were born in 1957, you reach full retirement age in the second half of 2023 or the first half of 2024. If you put off filing for Social Security until you turn 70, you’ll get 42 months of delayed requirement credits, good for a bump of nearly 28 percent over your full retirement benefit. If the benefit you’re entitled to at FRA is $1,800 a month, at 70 it would be almost $2,299.
Here’s how that $1,800 full benefit could grow for the next wave of patient retirees:
|Year of birth||Full retirement age||Benefit at 70|
|1953-1954||66||$2,376 (132% of full retirement benefit)|
|1955||66 and 2 months||$2,352 (130.67%)|
|1956||66 and 4 months||$2,328 (129.33%)|
|1957||66 and 6 months||$2,304 (128%)|
|1958||66 and 8 months||$2,280 (126.67%)|
|1959||66 and 10 months||$2,256 (125.33%)|
|1960 or later||67||$2,232 (124%)|
Keep in mind
You can claim benefits later than 70, but there’s no financial reason to do so. Delayed retirement credits stop, and your payment tops out, at that age.
The Older Person’s Grant, commonly referred to as the state old-age pension, is a monthly payment made to citizens, legal permanent residents, and refugees who are 60 years of age or older and do not have any other sources of income. This grant aims to financially assist our older residents when they can’t work anymore.
You qualify for an older person’s grant if:
How much is the grant?
The amount of the grant changes every year. Currently, the maximum amount is R2 080 per month. If you’re older than 75 years, you’ll get R2 100. Any changes in the grant amounts are reflected yearly in the national budget speech or at the opening of Parliament.
What you need to know about the grant application process
You can apply for the old age grant by filling in an application form at your nearest SASSA office and submitting the following supporting information:
Note: If you’re too old or sick to travel to the office to apply personally, a family member or friend can apply on your behalf. The person should take a letter from you and a doctor’s note saying why you can’t visit the office.
Complete the application form in the presence of the SASSA officer (note that only you, as the applicant or a SASSA official, can complete the application form). The officer will interview and inform you if you qualify for the grant.
Although the application is free, you’ll get a receipt. Keep it as proof that you applied.
How long will it take for the application to be processed?
SASSA will cancel your grant if you die, are admitted to a state institution or if your income or assets improve so much that you no longer pass the means test. You have to inform the department of any changes in your circumstances.
Payment options and details
SASSA will pay the grant to you through one of the following methods:
Note: If you’re can’t collect the money in person, you can appoint someone to collect the grant on your behalf.
Also, remember that normal bank charges can apply to any money going in and out of your bank account. You can decide to change the payment method at any time by filling in a form at a welfare office, but the change will only happen a month later.
What if your application is not approved?
If your application wasn’t approved, SASSA will inform you in writing why your application was unsuccessful. If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal to the National Department of Social Development. You must appeal within 90 days of being notified that your application was unsuccessful.
The means test
Only people who receive a monthly income below a certain level can get the grant. The test to decide this is called a means test.
Because social assistance like state grants is meant for people who can’t support themselves, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) looks at the income and assets of the person applying for a social grant to determine whether a person qualifies to receive a grant or not.
Call the toll-free helpline at 0800 601 011 for further information on:
SASSA Western Cape
Street address: Golden Acre, Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001
For further information, please visit these websites:
Department of Social Development
South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)