Currently, the full benefit age is 66 years and 2 months for people born in 1955, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Early retirement benefits will continue to be available at age 62, but they will be reduced more.
|Year of Birth||Full Retirement Age|
|1955||66 and 2 months|
|1956||66 and 4 months|
|1957||66 and 6 months|
|1958||66 and 8 months|
|1959||66 and 10 months|
DATA SOURCE: SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.
You have more control over your benefits than you might think
Your Social Security benefit payments are based on your top 35 years of earnings. Once those earnings are averaged to establish a base payment amount, you have the power to raise or lower that benefit depending on the age at which you first claim Social Security.
The earliest age you’re allowed to collect Social Security is 62, but claiming early comes at a cost. If you take benefits before reaching your full retirement age, you’ll lose 6.67% of your full benefit amount for up to three years and then 5% a year thereafter. So if your full retirement age is 66 and you claim benefits at 62, you’ll reduce your payments by 25%.
On the other hand, if you delay Social Security past your full retirement age, you’ll raise your benefits by 8% each year up until age 70, at which point the incentive to hold off runs out. So if your full retirement age is 66 and you wait until 70 to take Social Security, you’ll increase your payments by 32%.
Keep in mind that whatever benefit amount you first lock in will be the payment amount you receive for life. If you’re eligible for a full benefit of $1,500 a month at age 66 but claim Social Security at 62 to get your hands on that money sooner, you’ll reduce your benefit to $1,125, and that’s all you’ll collect each month from that point on. Your benefit won’t go back up once you reach your full retirement age.