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Can applying for social security hurt a 63-year-old small-business owner?

My father is 63 years old and a small-business owner. He retired from Vought Aircraft last year and receives a pension after working there for 23 years. He also makes a fair profit from a gas station he owns. Should he apply now for Social Security or wait? What are the disadvantages of applying now? What happens if he sells the business?
Applying for Social Security before the mandated retirement age and/or while still working part-time can adversely affect the amount of the benefits to which your father is entitled.  If he's 63 now, he was born in 1945 (or thereabouts), for which the retirement age is 66.  In addition, he would have to advise Social Security whether he intends to fully retire or continue to work in some capacity.  Earnings can reduce his benefits.  Visit www.socialsecurity.gov  (and especially http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10038.html) for more information and helpful fact sheets on your father's situation.

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