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Overview of Full Retirement Age

What is the full retirement age?

It varies depending on your birth year, but for many current retirees, it falls between 66 and 67 years old. To find your exact full retirement age, you can refer to the Social Security Administration’s official website or consult with a financial advisor.

How does Full Retirement Age work?

Full retirement age means the age at which you start receiving your full Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement amount. You may receive more or less than your full retirement amount if you start receiving benefits before or after your full retirement age.

You can generally start getting SSA benefits as young as 62 years old. But you’ll get a reduced monthly benefit. On the other hand, you can usually decide to delay your SSA retirement benefits, and then you’ll get a higher amount.

Evolution of Full Retirement Age

The full retirement age (FRA) in the United States has undergone several changes over the years. Initially, when Social Security was established in 1935, the FRA was set at 65, and this remained the standard for many years.

However, due to concerns about the sustainability of the Social Security system and the increasing life expectancy of Americans, legislation was passed to gradually increase the FRA. The key milestones in the evolution of the FRA include:

  1. Early 1980s: The Social Security Amendments of 1983 introduced a phased increase in the FRA. It began to rise from age 65 and gradually increased in two-month increments, reaching 66 for those born in the years 1943-1954.

  2. Born After 1954: For individuals born after 1954, the FRA continues to increase incrementally. It reaches 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

These changes were implemented to align the FRA with increasing life expectancies and to ensure the long-term financial stability of the Social Security program. It’s important for individuals approaching retirement age to be aware of their specific FRA, as it impacts the amount of Social Security benefits they can receive.

Understanding Your Retirement Benefits

How much social security will I get at age 62?

The amount of Social Security benefits you receive at age 62 is determined by various factors, including your lifetime earnings, the age at which you choose to start receiving benefits, and whether you continue to work while receiving benefits. Generally, if you choose to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced compared to what you would receive if you waited until your full retirement age (FRA). The reduction is typically around 25% if your FRA is 66 and about 30% if your FRA is 67. It’s essential to consider your specific circumstances and financial needs when deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits.

How much social security will I get at age 65? 

The amount of Social Security benefits you receive at age 65 is also influenced by factors like your lifetime earnings and your full retirement age (FRA). While 65 is often considered a common retirement age, it may not be your FRA, which can range from 66 to 67, depending on your birth year. If you choose to start receiving benefits at age 65, your monthly benefit amount may be slightly higher than if you started at age 62, but it will still be less than your full benefit amount. The exact amount will depend on your specific circumstances and the age at which you decide to claim your benefits.

Is the retirement age changing?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has already increased the retirement age for those who are now reaching age 65. It’s 66 now, and gradually going up to age 67. The retirement age increases slightly for every age group (starting with those born in 1938). There are several age groups. Here are just a few examples:

  • Currently, age 66 is the full retirement age for people born between 1943 and 1954.

  • A person born in 1955 will have to be 66 and 2 months to be considered at full retirement age.

  • Someone born in 1957 will have to be the age of 66 1/2 to receive full benefits.

  • If you were born in 1960 or later, you can’t receive full Social Security benefits until age 67.

How does my retirement age affect my Medicare benefits?

You can generally still get Medicare benefits at age 65 even if you haven’t reached your SSA retirement age. You typically would not need to apply for Social Security benefits to get your Medicare coverage.

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