One nice thing about Social Security is that it gives you different options when it comes to claiming benefits. If you need your money on the early side, you can file an early claim in exchange for a reduced benefit. And if you're willing to be patient and hold off on claiming benefits, you'll be rewarded with a higher monthly Social Security check for life.

Age 62 is the earliest age at which you can sign up for Social Security. And not surprisingly, it's a very popular filing age.

Meanwhile, you're entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your wage history once you reach full retirement age, or FRA. For anyone born in 1960 or later, your FRA is 67.

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The Social Security Administration will also reward you for delaying your filing beyond FRA. For each year you hold off, your benefits will get an 8% boost.

Once you turn 70, you can no longer accrue the delayed retirement credits that lead to higher benefits. But if you're looking at an FRA of 67 and you sign up for Social Security at age 70, instead, you can boost your benefits by 24% for life.

Despite this perk, a shockingly small percentage of seniors file for Social Security at 70. But not going that route could mean missing out on a very large amount of income.

What could an extra $182,370 do for your retirement?

It's estimated that around 10% of Social Security recipients sign up for benefits at age 70, according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. But those who don't wait until age 70 to claim benefits lose a median of $182,370 in lifetime income. The report also found that more than 90% of Americans age 45 to 62 should claim Social Security at age 70.

Of course, delaying your Social Security filing until age 70 carries some risk. If you end up passing away at a relatively young age, then a delayed filing could leave you with a smaller amount of lifetime income than an earlier filing.

But if you wind up having at least an average life span, then signing up for benefits at 70 could give you a lot more buying power throughout your retirement. And if you end up living a much longer life than average, you might end up gaining even more than $182,370 in additional buying power by delaying your Social Security claim until your 70th birthday.

A decision to consider carefully

Ultimately, the decision to sign up for Social Security at one age versus another is a personal one. And you'll need to account for different factors when making that choice, including the state of your savings, your health, and your family history.

But all told, it pays to at least consider delaying your Social Security filing until age 70, especially if you're not so confident in your nest-egg's ability to last throughout retirement. Snagging a higher monthly benefit for life could give you a lot more financial freedom at a time when many people routinely experience personal economic stress. And if your savings do end up running out, you'll have a more generous monthly paycheck from Social Security to compensate.