The Social Security program may appear fairly straightforward, and it is in many ways.

Getting retirement benefits is a quick and straightforward process.

Apart from keeping your bank account and address information current, there's not much you need to do after you've applied.

Although you may think you understand Social Security strategy, there's more to it than you realize.

Here are three mistakes to avoid that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Claiming too early if you're still working

The vast majority of Americans claim Social Security at or before their full retirement age for those who qualify. 

As you age, your benefit will increase by 8% per year, but your 35-year average will also improve, which will raise the base benefit amount that your delayed retirement credits will be applied to. 

Delaying spousal benefits after Full retirement AGE

Social Security spousal benefits provide much-needed income for spouses who haven't worked or earned little during their working careers. 

Think twice before delaying retirement beyond your spouse's full retirement age if your spouse is entitled to a benefit on your work record. 

Not checking your earnings record

SSA keeps track of your Social Security taxable earnings every year, and your most recent statement will show your earnings record.  

The number of errors in Social Security earnings records isn't huge, but they are more common than you may think. 

As an example, the Social Security Administration reported that $71 billion in wages could not be matched with earnings records in the 2012 tax year.

...and only about half of the mismatches were eventually resolved.  

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