It’s fairly common advice spread by financial advisors and laymen alike: It’s always better to file for Social Security later rather than earlier. After all, by delaying taking benefits, payments can go up significantly.

Chances are that the advantage of delaying taking benefits will apply (and appeal) to most people. But filing earlier (or as soon as one is eligible) can be the right choice for many people. Here are some situations when that’s true. (For more, see: 4 Unusual Ways to Boost Social Security Benefits.)

  • You want to retire now: while some people choose to delay receiving Social Security until they hit age 70, others want to enjoy their retirement years immediately. Unless you have other forms of income, filing for Social Security is the only way you’ll survive without a steady job. Try to wait until your full retirement age, usually 66 or 67 (click here to find yours). Taking it before then will lower your monthly benefit.
  • You’re in poor health: though life expectancy continues to rise in this country, many seniors still worry about dying early. If you have a chronic condition or a terminal illness, you might consider taking your benefits early. “Delaying benefits doesn’t make sense if there is a good chance you won’t be around to enjoy it,” said CFP Jennifer…