Your retirement benefit amount depends on how much you’ve earned over your lifetime at jobs for which you paid Social Security taxes — and the age at which you claim. You can claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but you’ll only receive your full benefit amount if you wait to claim until your full retirement age (FRA).
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. By claiming at the age of 62, a hypothetical $1000 retirement benefit would be reduced by 25% and you would only receive $750 per month. A $500 monthly spousal benefit would be reduced to $350.
The greater the gap between age 62 and FRA, the higher the percentage of reduction in retirement benefits. For those born in 1960 or later, retirement benefits are reduced by 30% and spousal benefits are reduced by 35%. This means a $1000 retirement benefit would be reduced to $700 per month.
According to the SSA’s 2021 Annual Statistical Supplement, the monthly benefit amount for retired workers claiming benefits at age 62 earning the average wage was $1,480 per month for the worker alone. The benefit amount for workers with spouses claiming benefits was $2,170 at age 62.
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Although claiming before FRA allows you to collect retirement benefits for a longer period of time, your benefit amount will be significantly reduced. The SSA says that if you delay your benefits until after FRA, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit.
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