What Is the Social Security Retirement Age?

You can collect benefits early at 62, but that will reduce your Social Security benefits.


goodluz / Shutterstock.com

Your Social Security retirement age depends on when you were born. Generally, the later you can retire, the higher your benefits will be. The Social Security Administration allows you to retire early, but if you do, your benefits will be reduced.

Consult the following chart to help you choose the age to retire. As you evaluate your retirement planning needs, review the following information about how your retirement age affects your Social Security benefits.

What Is the Social Security Retirement Age?
Year of Birth Full Retirement Age Early Retirement Age Early Retirement Benefits Reduction Delayed Retirement Yearly Increase
1937 or earlier 65 62 20% 5.50% (1933-34)
6.00% (1935-36)
1943-1954 66 62 25% 6.50% (1937-38)
7.00% (1939-40)
1960 and later 67 62 30% 7.50% (1941-42)
8.00% (1943 and later)

Find Out: When Is the Smartest Time to Take Your Social Security Check?

Social Security Eligibility by Birth Year
Tetra Images / Getty Images

Social Security Eligibility by Birth Year

Your Social Security eligibility is based on the number of credits you've earned by working. As of 2017, you earn one credit for every $1,300 you earn. You can receive up to four credits per year based on your income. In 2017, once you earn $5,200, you'll have the yearly maximum of four credits.

To qualify for retirement benefits, you must earn 40 lifetime credits if you were born after 1929. If you were born before 1929, your number of credits is reduced by one for every year — you need 39 if you were born 1928, 38 if you were born in 1927, and so on. To qualify for survivor and disability benefits, you generally need 40 lifetime credits, although younger workers can qualify with fewer.

Full Retirement Age
racorn / Shutterstock.com

Full Retirement Age

Social Security benefits are based on your full retirement age, which is also known as your normal retirement age. Retirement age for Social Security varies depending on the year in which you were born.

For people born in 1937 or earlier, full retirement age is 65; for those born between 1943 and 1954, it's 66. If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.

If you were born in one of the gap years — such as 1955 to 1960 — your full retirement age increases by two months per year. For example, if you were born in 1959, your full retirement age is 66 years and 10 months. Use the Social Security Administation's retirement calculator to figure out your exact retirement age as defined by the SSA.

Retiring Early
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

Retiring Early

You can retire as early as 62 and still receive Social Security retirement benefits — if you do so, however, your monthly benefit will be reduced. For people born in 1937 or earlier, retiring at 62 reduces benefits by 20 percent. If you were born from 1943 to 1954 and retire at 62, you'll get a 25 percent reduction in benefits. If you were born in 1960 or later, that number jumps to 30 percent.

Delaying Social Security Retirement Benefits
larry1235 / Shutterstock.com

Delaying Social Security Retirement Benefits

If you delay retiring, your Social Security retirement benefits will increase. For each year you postpone claiming benefits — up to age 70 — you'll receive an additional 8 percent annually if you were born in 1943 or later. That percentage goes down if you were born before 1943 and ends up at 3 percent if you were born between 1917 and 1924.

Learn: How to Maximize Your Social Security Income

Claiming Social Security Spousal Benefits
Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com

Claiming Social Security Spousal Benefits

Even if you've never worked, you can get benefits if your spouse is already receiving them. The amount you can get is reduced if you claim benefits before your full retirement age. The most you can receive at full retirement age is half the amount of your spouse's full benefit.

Up Next: Answers to Your 6 Top Social Security Questions

Related Video

About the Author

John Csiszar

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

Read More