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Farm & Family: Start planning now for when you will file for these retirement benefits.

Mark Balzarini

June 1, 2022

2 Min Read
Closeup detail of several Social Security Cards
GOVERNMENT BENNIES: Your full Social Security retirement age depends on the year you were born. Confirm the age at which you receive full retirement benefits with the Social Security Administration.eric1513/Getty Images

Lately, I have had a number of conversations with farmers on when they should start taking Social Security benefits.

There are number of factors that go into making this decision. These include how long they plan to continue farming, their current income, the taxes they are paying and their life expectancy. The decision process should include advice from your whole team of advisers — your attorney, tax adviser, financial adviser and farm business manager.

One of the key factors to consider is your Social Security full retirement age. This is age 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. For those who were born 1955 through 1960, the age gradually goes up to 67. For those born after 1960, full retirement age is 67.

A person can choose to take Social Security benefits prior to their full retirement age, starting at age 62. But taking benefits before your full retirement age will decrease your monthly benefit amount. A person can also choose to wait to take their Social Security benefit until sometime after full retirement age. By doing so, they will be eligible for delayed retirement credits. These credits will increase your monthly payments. After age 70, there are no additional delayed retirement credits, so there is no increased benefit to waiting after age 70.

Work with advisers regarding earned income

If you are still farming and earning farm income after your start your Social Security benefits, this income may reduce your benefits. Your benefits are reduced if you are under your full retirement age, and your earned income exceeds the yearly income limit. If you are still farming, it will be important to work with your advisers to adjust your earned income. Often, advisers are able to help farmers use passive income planning strategies to avoid this.

I advise farmers to seek advice on Social Security benefits long before retirement. Since Social Security benefits are determined by earned income, farmers will want to be sure to work with their tax adviser to make sure they have sufficient income in the years prior to retirement to qualify for Social Security benefits.

It is important to remember that even if you decide to delay your Social Security benefits until after age 65, you should apply for Medicare benefits no longer than three months after your 65th birthday. If you wait longer, you will pay more for your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) and prescription drug coverage (Part D). You can start applying for Medicare three months prior to your 65th birthday. For more information, see

Balzarini is an attorney at law with Miller Legal Strategic Planning Centers, a division of Hellmuth & Johnson. Email your questions and comments to [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Mark Balzarini

Mark Balzarini is an attorney at law with Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC. Contact him at [email protected].

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