Table of Contents
Table of Contents
- The age to receive full Social Security retirement benefits depends on the year you were born. The longer you wait to claim benefits, the more they can increase.
- For those born before 1943, the full retirement age is 65. But for people born from 1943 to 1954, the full retirement age is 66.
- If you were born from 1955 to 1959, the full retirement age gradually increases from 66 to almost 67. For anyone born in 1960 or after, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
As you consider your plans for retirement, do you find yourself wondering what is the full retirement age for Social Security? You're definitely not alone.
The answer is important. When preparing for retirement, understanding the timing considerations around claiming your Social Security benefit is essential. And because every person's financial picture and life expectancy are not the same, it's equally critical to learn how the rules and benefits of Social Security apply to you.
What Is the Full Retirement Age for Social Security?
The age to receive full Social Security retirement benefits depends on the year you were born.1 For those born before 1943, the full retirement age is 65. But for people born from 1943 to 1954, the full retirement age is 66. If you were born from 1955 to 1959, the full retirement age gradually increases from 66 to almost 67. For anyone born in 1960 or after, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
When Can You Claim Social Security Benefits?
The longer you wait to claim benefits, the more they can increase. There are three general options for claiming retirement benefits from Social Security:
- Early retirement age. You can claim Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefits will be reduced if you take them before your full retirement age.
- Full retirement age. This is the age you can start receiving your full retirement benefit amount, depending on your birth year.
- Delayed retirement age. Your retirement benefit amount will increase by 8% for each year after full retirement age up to age 70, after which there is no incentive to delay benefits longer.
What Is the Best Time to Claim Social Security Benefits?
For some individuals, it makes the most sense to wait until full retirement age to claim Social Security benefits. But people also have the option of claiming benefits early, or they may wait to receive delayed benefits after their full retirement age has passed.
There are multiple factors that can help you determine the best timing to claim Social Security benefits:
- Work status. If you plan to continue working up to or past retirement age, you may not need to take Social Security benefits early. Also, depending upon your income level and age, you may be taxed on Social Security benefits or receive a reduced amount if you are still working in retirement.
- Military status. Retired military service members can receive both their military pension and Social Security benefits. This may make it possible for some service members to delay receiving benefits until later.
- Marital status. Depending upon certain factors, such as the earnings of each spouse and if other dependents are living in the home, it may make sense for some individuals to take spousal benefits.2
- State of residence. Taxation is a key factor in retirement planning. The states that tax some or all Social Security benefits include Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.3 Most other states do not tax Social Security benefits.
- Employer-sponsored benefits. If you qualify to receive a pension from your employer, this supplemental income may influence the age you choose to claim Social Security benefits.
- Retirement savings. Consider your claiming decision in the context of your entire retirement savings situation. For example, a healthy 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA) balance may give you confidence to begin taking your Social Security benefit.
- Health and life expectancy. The greater your health and life expectancy, the more it generally makes sense to delay Social Security until at least full retirement age or later. This is because a higher benefit amount can help stretch savings and investments.
The Bottom Line
The full retirement age for Social Security benefits depends on the year you were born, but it ranges from age 65 to age 67. Some people choose early benefits at age 62 while others wait until after full retirement age (up to age 70) when benefits are higher.
Each person's case is unique, and retirement planning includes many different variables. For this reason, working with a financial professional can help to make the right plan that works best for your situation.
- Learn about retirement benefits. Social Security Administration. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/learn.html.
- Benefits for spouses. Social Security Administration. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/applying7.html.
- Which states tax Social Security benefits? AARP. https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/which-states-do-not-tax-social-security-benefits.html.