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The payback is even longer if you consider the interest you would earn on the earlier payments. So first consideration is you have to live that long.

Second, with all of these budget fights going on and almost daily comments about the need to do something with Social Security (and or Medicare), your benefits are more secure once you start collecting them. Until you get your first check, they are mostly a promise--and too easy to modify.

Take the cash when you can.
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