For those in West Virginia or elsewhere in the nation born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67. This is the time at which they are eligible for their full Social Security benefit, and most would say that individuals should get as close as possible to 67 before taking their benefits. However, there may be a few good reasons why people would want to start taking benefits early.
Those who are forced into retirement may have no choice other than to take benefits early. If this happened because of a health issue, an individual may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. If approved, they receive their full benefit regardless of when they retire. At full retirement age, those benefits are converted into regular retirement benefits. It may also make sense to take benefits early if a spouse can wait a few years to retire.
Ideally, the spouse who makes more and contributes more to Social Security will retire closer to the full retirement age. While it still may reduce what a couple makes overall, it may be worth it for those who want or need to stop working as soon as possible. Finally, those who are financially secure and may not rely heavily on Social Security may also be able to take benefits early without sacrificing their long-term finances.
Those who have been injured in a work accident may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits if they are no longer able to work. An attorney may be able to help an individual with his or her application for benefits or answer questions about the process.