When Can You Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits?
The full retirement age (or “normal” retirement age) is currently 66, however, you can start collecting your social security retirement benefits as early as age 62. You won’t get the full amount you would be entitled to at your full retirement age, but under certain circumstances, that’s better than nothing.
Is It Better To Wait Till Full Retirement Age To Start Collecting Benefits?
The only difference between starting early (from age 62) and waiting till your at least 66 is the amount you get each month. You can either collect smaller amounts for a longer period of time or bigger amounts for a shorter period of time.
Whether you start collecting at 62 or 66, the important thing to remember is that the total amount you would collect over the course of your lifetime, adds up to about the same number.
Full Retirement and Age 62 Benefit By Year Of Birth
Refer to the table below to figure out when you will hit your full retirement age based on the year you were born, and how much your retirement benefit would be if you decided to collect your benefits earlier than expected.
|Year of Birth||Full (normal) Retirement Age||Months between age 62 and full retirement age||At Age 62|
|A $1000 retirement benefit would be reduced to||The retirement benefit is reduced by||A $500 spouse’s benefit would be reduced to||The spouse’s benefit is reduced by|
|1955||66 and 2 months||50||$741||25.83%||$345||30.83%|
|1956||66 and 4 months||52||$733||26.67%||$341||31.67%|
|1957||66 and 6 months||54||$725||27.50%||$337||32.50%|
|1958||66 and 8 months||56||$716||28.33%||$333||33.33%|
|1959||66 and 10 months||58||$708||29.17%||$329||34.17%|
|1960 and later||67||60||$700||30.00%||$325||35.00%|
This example is based on an estimated monthly benefit of $1000 at full retirement age.
Click on the year you were born to see the full month-to-month breakdown from age 62 to your full retirement age:
- If you were born between 1943 and 1954 your full retirement age is 66
- If you were born in 1955 your full retirement age is 66 and 2 months
- If you were born in 1956 your full retirement age is 66 and 4 months
- If you were born in 1957 your full retirement age is 66 and 6 months
- If you were born in 1958 your full retirement age is 66 and 8 months
- If you were born in 1959 your full retirement age is 66 and 10 months
- If you were born in 1960 your full retirement age is 67
How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated?
Social Security Benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. Your actual earnings are adjusted to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.
They then apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit, or “primary insurance amount” (PIA). This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age – 66 or older, depending on your date of birth.
If you need to have an estimate of your Social Security retirement benefits, THIS Social Security Benefits calculator will give you a ballpark figure based on your actual social security earnings. Be advised that it is simply an estimate of what your benefits could be, as certain variables could change that number with time.
Things to Consider When Planning for Retirement
The decision regarding collecting your Social Security retirement benefits is not as simple as either collecting less money now or more money later. There are several important variables to consider when making that choice:
- If you start collecting at 62, will you continue working?
- Consider your life expectancy, given your health and family history
- If you retire early, will you still have health insurance?
- Do you qualify for benefits as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse?
- Will you have another source of income besides your Social Security benefits?
- Will other family members qualify to receive your benefits?
The best way to start planning for your future is by creating a my Social Security account. With your personal my Social Security account, you can verify your earnings, and use the Retirement Calculator to get an estimate of your retirement benefits.
If you decide to delay your retirement, be sure to sign up for just Medicare at age 65.
If you do not sign up at age 65, in some circumstances your Medicare coverage may be delayed and cost more.
Marketing Director & Probate Paralegal at RWC, LLC, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Ukraine born and Israel / Miami, FL raised. University of Miami graduate in the Marketing field.
Mom to a girl, a boy, and a Siberian Husky.