How Does Full Retirement Age Work
Full retirement age is not the same age for everyone. Understanding when you will reach full retirement age depends on the day and year you were born.
Although full retirement age once was 65 for everyone, Congress passed a law in 1983 that gradually increased it to age 67, because people were living longer.
|Year you were born|
|1960 or later||67|
Not only does FRA depend on the year you were born, but it also depends on the day, because Social Security considers you to have attained an age the day before your birthday. Therefore, if you were born on January 1, you would use the FRA for the year before your year of birth.
For example, someone born on Jan. 1, 1956, would use 1955 as the year to figure their full retirement age, as they would be considered to have attained an age on Dec. 31 of the previous year . According to the Social Security Administration, full retirement age for 1955 as a birth year would be 66 and 2 months, therefore that is their retirement age, even though they were actually born in 1956.
For purposes of the month you are entitled to receive benefits, if you were born on the first of the month, you are considered to attain that age the month before. Someone born on February 1 would be entitled to receive their FRA benefit amount for the month of January.
What Age Do I Need To Start Worrying About Social Security
Most workers know the basics about Social Security but dont have an intimate understanding of how the program operates. Social Security is not some static retirement income program that guarantees a pot of gold at the end of your career. Rather, Social Security is ever-evolving, and the system thats in place today might be significantly different by the time you actually retire. At various phases of your career, there are certain aspects of Social Security that you should pay particular attention to.
What Happens If You Claim After Your Fra
If you wait until your age 70 to start claiming benefits, then youll get an extra 8% per yearor, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesnt increase your benefits further, so theres no reason to wait longer than that.
The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 , the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesnt necessarily mean that youll come out ahead overall. Other factors should be considered, including your expected longevity and whether you plan to file for spousal benefits. You should also consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.
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Should You Take Social Security At Full Retirement Age
There are tons of factors to consider in deciding when to start your Social Security benefits.
For people with serious health problems, it might make sense to start benefits early. Someone who was disabled before full retirement age and can no longer work might consider forgoing a higher monthly benefit to start collecting monthly Social Security benefits immediately. Meanwhile, maximizing Social Security benefits is a strategy thats most relevant for people who expect to live longer than average.
Consider a hypothetical beneficiary who lives to 79, which is the average American life expectancy:
If they started collecting Social Security at age 62, with a $1,400 monthly payment, they would receive a lifetime total of $285,600 in benefits.
If they waited until their full retirement age, theyd receive a $2,000 monthly benefit, for a lifetime total of $300,000.
If they waited as long as possible to claim benefitsto age 70they would get a monthly benefit of $2,600, or a lifetime total of $280,000.
For this hypothetical American, no matter when they choose to start receiving Social Security benefits, the differences in lifetime total benefits isnt very large. Deciding when to start Social Security isnt always as simple as aiming to maximize your monthly payment.
Demographic And Revenue Projections
|This section’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. The reason given is: Several of these projected dates have passed, and some language referring to data as ‘current’, ‘latest’, ‘most recent’, etc. is as old as 2005, or undated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.|
In 2005, this exhaustion of the OASDI Trust Fund was projected to occur in 2041 by the Social Security Administration or by 2052 by the Congressional Budget Office, CBO. Thereafter, however, the projection for the exhaustion date of this event was moved up slightly after the recession worsened the U.S. economy’s financial picture. The 2011 OASDI Trustees Report stated:
Annual cost exceeded non-interest income in 2010 and is projected to continue to be larger throughout the remainder of the 75-year valuation period. Nevertheless, from 2010 through 2022, total trust fund income, including interest income, is more than is necessary to cover costs, so trust fund assets will continue to grow during that time. Beginning in 2023, trust fund assets will diminish until they become exhausted in 2036. Non-interest income is projected to be sufficient to support expenditures at a level of 77 percent of scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion in 2036, and then to decline to 74 percent of scheduled benefits in 2085.
Ways to eliminate the projected shortfall
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Claiming Social Security Early Reduces Benefits
You can claim your Social Security retirement benefits as early as 62 but you will receive a smaller amount if you do that. How much your benefits will be reduced depends on your age when you claim Social Security. For example, lets say you are eligible for 100% of your benefits at age 67, which is the full retirement age for anyone born in or after 1960:
- If you claim Social Security early at age 62, your benefit will be reduced by 30%
- If you claim early at age 63, your benefit will be reduced by 25%
- If you claim early at age 64, your benefit will be reduced by 20%
- If you claim early at age 65, your benefit will be reduced by 13.3%
- If you claim early at age 66, your benefit will be reduced by 6.7%
Under this example, if you were eligible for $1,000 a month at your full retirement age of 67 then the benefit would be reduced to $700 a month if you claimed at 62 $750 if you claimed at 63 and so on, according to the Social Security Administration. The reduction is calculated each month, not on a yearly basis, so every month you wait after age 62 will mean a slightly bigger Social Security check.
- Social Security Basics: 12 Things You Must Know About Claiming and Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits
Move To A Retirement Community
If you are planning to relocate, moving into a retirement community could be cheaper than purchasing a new home in the area. “They’re often cheaper than the surrounding homes in the market that are open to everyone,” said retirement coach Sara Zeff Geber. Plus living in a retirement community makes it easier to socialize with other people your age. However, you need to be realistic about what you can actually afford with your Social Security check, as some luxury retirement communities can be really expensive.
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Don’t Overpay For Prescriptions
Medication costs can really add up. To save money on your prescriptions, always opt for the generic when possible. And consider joining a prescription membership program wherever you buy your medication to receive discounts and earn rewards. For example, the Rite Aid Rx Savings Program gives members 15 percent off or more on meds, and a 30-day supply of most generics costs only $9.99 with the plan.
If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66
You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.
The chart below provides examples of the percentage of your full retirement benefit amount you and your spouse would receive from age 62 up to your full retirement age.
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How Much Social Security Do I Get
Your benefits may be reduced if you collect Social Security benefits before your FRA. If you take Social Security benefits before FRA, and you earn income in excess of the annual earnings limit, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. Once you reach FRA, you can earn as much as you like and your Social Security benefit will not be reduced.
Social Security is separate from Medicare. Although age 65 is frequently referenced when referring to Medicare, your full retirement age may be something different.
In addition, for couples, in many cases having the spouse who earned the most wait until full retirement age or later to begin benefits can result in a serious boost to survivor benefits. If you’re married, be sure to coordinate your claiming decision to put the two of you in the most secure position.
Social Security For The Disabled
People who are disabled, are dependents of retired or disabled workers, or are surviving spouses/children may also receive benefits. Note that this is supplementary information and that the Social Security Calculator only provides calculations for retirement benefits.
The SSA’s definition of disability refers to total disability, so partial or short-term disabilities are not qualified for benefits. Under the SSA’s rules, a person is disabled only if they meet all of the following conditions:
- They cannot do work they did before
- The SSA decides that they cannot adjust to other work because of their medical condition
- The disability has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or to result in death
Benefits usually continue until beneficiaries are able to work again. Disability beneficiaries that reach full retirement age will have their benefits converted into retirement benefits, with the amount remaining the same. It is against the law to receive both disability and retirement benefits at the same time.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Supplemental Security Income
In some situations, it is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI. This usually happens when a qualified application for SSDI is granted low enough an SSDI benefit to make the applicant also eligible for SSI.
Earliest Normal Social Security Eligibility Age: 62
Even though you can begin receiving benefits as early as 62, that doesn’t mean you should start taking them at that age. This is primarily because you will receive reduced benefits. If you want a larger amount of guaranteed income later in retirement, then waiting to begin benefits until you are a few years older will make sense. Remember, even if you are retired, you can wait until you’re 70 to apply for Social Security so that you get a higher benefit. It is one of the best ways to make sure you have a higher amount of inflation-adjusted income later in life.
Also, if you take Social Security at this early age and you have earnings above the Social Security earnings limit, your Social Security benefits will be reduced. Once you reach full retirement age , there is no reduction in benefits for continuing to work, no matter how much you make.
You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits any time after you reach 62. Once you reach 62, think of it like open enrollment you can begin at any time and do not have to wait until another age cut off.
Social Security In The Us
Before Social Security , care for the elderly or disabled in the U.S. wasn’t a federal responsibility if they weren’t cared for by family, it fell into the hands of municipalities or states. This changed in 1935 when the Social Security Act was first established in the U.S. by President Franklin Roosevelt. The first taxes were collected starting in January 1937, which enabled monetary assistance to qualified Americans with inadequate or no income. Originally, SS was just a program that paid out retirement benefits, but a 1939 change added survivors benefits for a retiree’s spouse and children. In addition, in 1956, disability benefits were added.
Today, SS in the U.S. plays a very important role in keeping a lot of older Americans out of poverty. For most Americans in retirement, it is their major source of income, and for a significant percentage, it is their only source of income, even though SS was never intended to be a full replacement of income. On average, SS pays lower-wage earners higher relative benefits than higher-wage earners. In addition, lower-wage earners tend to pay less tax and are more likely to receive social insurance disability income and survivor benefits. SS is sometimes referred to as Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance .
Social Security Facts
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What Is The Break Even Point And Why Is It Important
Whenever you wait until age 70 to collect benefits, you’ll be missing out on the years you weren’t receiving payments. If you’re deciding when to collect, you might consider calculating your break even point.
Your break even point tells you at what age you’ll receive more in total Social Security earnings, by collecting at full retirement age or at age 70, than you would have had you collected benefits early.
For many people, the breakeven point is around 12 and ½ years after age 70 or full retirement age, says Blair.
For example, if you collected early at age 62 rather than delay until your full retirement age of 67, you would be earning an additional five years worth of benefits. However, if you collected at 62, your benefit would be reduced by 30%. An individual collecting at age 67 would need to survive around another 12 years after collecting benefits to ‘break even’ compared to getting payouts starting at age 62.
You can calculate your own break even number, but note that the number might not be accurate if you don’t consider factors like the cost of living adjustment or having a spouse, divorced spouse or survivor’s benefit.
Go To Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts
Living on Social Security will mean you’re on a pretty tight budget, but it’s okay to eat out every once in a while — especially if you go to a restaurant that offers a senior discount. Many popular chains offer up to 25% discounts on meals for people 55 and older, even on takeout. For example, Chili’s offers a 10% senior discount every day and Uno Pizzeria & Grill has a 25% discount for seniors on Wednesdays, according to TheSeniorList.com.
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Whats Your Social Security Break
If youre looking to maximize your total lifetime Social Security payout, youll want to conduct a break-even analysis to determine when you should start drawing your benefits.
Your break-even age occurs when the total value of higher benefits starts to exceed the total value of lower benefits .
For example, if you are eligible to collect a reduced $900 benefit at age 62 plus 1 month, and your benefit would increase to $1,251 at age 65 and 10 months, your estimated break-even age is 75 years and 5 months.
If you expect to live beyond that age, it could make financial sense to delay drawing benefits. The Social Security Administrations life expectancy calculator can help you decide.
When it comes to calculating a start date for Social Security benefits, however, theres not an age thats appropriate for everyone. Consider your own financial needs, health and other retirement plans before making the call. If you cant reasonably afford to live without taking benefits, it may make little sense to delay taking your benefit.
What’s Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is when you’re eligible to receive full Social Security benefits. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year: Under current law, if you were born in 1955 or later, your full retirement age can be anywhere between age 66 and 2 monthsall the way up to age 67 for those born after 1959. If you were born before 1955, you’ve already reached age 66 and full retirement age.
Retirement ages for full Social Security benefits
If you were born in
Your full retirement age is
1954 or earlier
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What Is The Future Of Social Security
If you’re skeptical about the future of Social Security or wary of potential changes such as means testingwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits for the wealthy, or an increase in the full retirement ageyou may be tempted to start benefits early, under the assumption that it’s better to have something than nothing. The 2021 annual report from the Social Security Trustees, released in August 2021, projects that the Social Security Trust Fund has enough resources to cover all promised benefits until 2034. Then, absent a change from Congress, the trustees project that benefits would need to be cut for all current and future beneficiaries to about 78% of scheduled benefits. The 2021 report includes the trustee’s best estimates of the impact from the pandemic, which were not reported on last year.
Over the longer term, changes such as later benefit dates or means testing may be considered.
In any situation, if you’re particularly concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, that’s a good reason to save more, and earlier, for your retirement.