I made a trip to the Arlington Social Security office today. Second trip in my entire life...the SS Administration. The first one was a decade ago in Bama....fifteen minutes in to get a new card. It was simple and quick. Today? I stood there for eighty minutes....with two elderly American guys waiting to sign up, and twenty non-Americans (Indians, El Salvadorans, Mexicans, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Lebanese, etc).
When I finally got up to the front, I had only a simple request. I needed a reset on my on-line ability to their database. The guy spent two minutes and fixed me up. Then we spent five minutes chatting over what I might expect at 62....which ends up around $1149 a month, and $1590 if I was waiting until 65.
You don't really start thinking Social Security until you get up into your mid forties, and then you have a curious thought about it. In the mid-fifties, it's virtually every two or three months that this comes up and you think about early retirement.
The other observation I got out of this trip....was this 1980s design of the office. All the paintings, posters, and furniture.....all felt Reagan-era. With the exception of the computer network....everything felt old.
So my final advice.....it's best to get out to the office about thirty minutes before they open and just line up quick to get a number.