What is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?

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Q. What is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?
— Not retired yet

A. Social Security can be confusing, given that you can receive different amounts depending on when you begin to collect.

And the longer you wait, the higher the benefit.

You can begin to collect Social Security as early as age 62, but it is generally advisable to wait, if possible, to maximize your benefit, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

If you collect early, you will permanently reduce your benefit, she said.

For individuals whose Full Retirement Age, or FRA, is age 67, you will take a 30% reduction in your benefit if you start to collect at age 62, she said.

“Over a lifetime, this really can add up. Most Americans do not have a pension, and Social Security can help fill the gap giving you guaranteed monthly income that increases annually with inflation,” she said.

When you were born matters.

If you were born earlier than 1955, then you already are eligible to collect, D’Agostini said. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your FRA is at age 66.
If you were born between 1955 and 1960, then you add two months for each year to determine your FRA, D’Agostini said.

“For example, if you were born in 1955, then your FRA would be 66 and 2 months and if you were born in 1957, then your FRA would be age 66 and 6 months,” D’Agostini said. “Anyone who was born in 1960 or later has an FRA of age 67. Those born on January 1 of any year revert to the previous year.”

You can log in at SSA.gov to see your expected benefits at 62, at your FRA and at age 70.

There are other considerations.

If you have health issues and must leave the workforce, you might consider filing for Social Security disability instead, D’Agostini said. The amount is nearly the same as your retirement benefit, she said.

And if you continue to work beyond your FRA, you will increase your benefit in a couple of ways, she said.

“You will be adding on additional years of work earnings which could give you higher lifetime earnings,” she said. “Social Security takes the top 35 highest years of income up to a yearly maximum.”

Also, she said, you will receive an 8% per year of increase to your benefit for each year that you delay collecting, she said.

“If your FRA is 66, that’s a 32% increase and if it’s age 67, it’s a 24% increase,” D’Agostini said. “With longevity being the main challenge in supporting retirement income, locking in a higher starting Social Security amount is generally a wise decision.”

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This story was originally published on Oct. 12, 2022.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.