Q & A: March 2021

Can You Tell Me My Full Retirement Age?

Q:  I was born May 10, 1960.  Can you tell me my retirement age?  I’ve read that the retirement age for Social Security is rising.  How does this affect the amount that I receive in benefits?  Can I still retire and receive benefits at age 62?

A:  The age at which individuals become eligible for full, un-reduced Social Security benefits is rising.  Your full retirement age is based on the year when you were born and, for people born in 1960 and later, the full retirement age is 67.  The earliest age at which you can claim a retirement benefit is (still) 62.  However, claiming benefits prior to your full retirement age comes with expensive trade-offs.  It’s unlikely to be your best choice if your aim is to maximize your retirement income over the long haul.

Starting benefits prior to full retirement age means you receive benefits over a longer period of time, but the amount you get will be reduced, perhaps significantly.  Delaying the start of your benefits until after your full retirement age of 67, until age 70 means a bigger check but paid out over a shorter period of time.

The following chart illustrates the rising retirement age, and the impact of reductions prior to full retirement age:

Full Retirement Age and Age 62 Benefit by Year of Birth

Year of birth Full retirement age Months between age 62 and full retirement age At age 62 a $1,000 retirement benefit would be reduced to Retirement benefit is reduced by:
1943-1954 66 48 $750 25.00%
1955 66 and 2 months 50 $741 25.83%
1956 66 and 4 months 52 $733 26.67%
1957 66 and 6 months 54 $725 27.50%
1958 66 and 8 months 56 $716 28.33%
1959 66 and 10 months 58 $708 29.17%
1960 and later 67


60 $700 30.00%

Source: The Social Security Administration

In your case, you will receive your full benefit at age 67.  But if you delay until age 70, you’ll boost your full benefit by 8% each full year you delay after your full retirement age until age 70.  There are other considerations as well.  While you may work and receive benefits at the same time, if you are under full retirement age you are restricted in how much you may earn before your benefits will be reduced.  Earn more than the exempt amount ($18,960 in 2021), and your benefit will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.  In addition, Social Security benefits may add to your taxable income.  A portion of your benefits are taxable when your modified adjusted gross income is over $25,000 (individual) or $32,000 (married filing jointly).

Regardless of when you decide to start benefits, you should enroll in Medicare when you turn age 65.  Failure to enroll by your Medicare deadline may result in permanent enrollment penalties that you would add to the cost of your Medicare Part B premiums for the rest of the time you have Medicare.

For more information about your retirement age, and to use retirement calculator tools visit www.SSA.gov.