Social Security includes 567 ways to claim if you have 0 employees to advise you—and your decision can leave $250,000 of your money with the government. Once you’ve claimed, there’s no second chance.

Social Security was, it appears, designed to be incomprehensible to the American public. Why else would it have a Handbook with 2,728 incredibly obtuse rules and a Program Operating Manual System with tens of thousands of even more obtuse rules meant to clarify the 2,728 incredibly obtuse rules?

There are important decisions you need to make when claiming Social Security, and you want to understand the facts so you don’t make a costly mistake.