The earliest age you can collect your Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. (Widows and widowers may be able to collect as early as age 60.) If you take Social Security at 62, or any time before full retirement age (defined below), and continue to work and earn an amount in excess of the earnings limit, your Social Security benefits will be reduced. Details below.
Social Security Retirement Age 60 If You Are a Widow/Widower
- If you are a widow or widower, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 60, although you will receive a much larger benefit if you wait until you are older to begin your benefits.
- See Survivor Benefits For Your Widow or Widower on the Social Security website for additional details.
Earliest Normal Social Security Eligibility Age Is 62
- Age 62 is the earliest Social Security retirement age you can begin collecting your normal benefits, although you will receive a reduced benefit at this age.
- If you take Social Security at this age, and you have earnings in excess of the Social Security earnings limit, your Social Security benefit will be reduced.
- You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits any time after you reach age 62. Once you reach age 62, think of it like open enrollment.
- Once you reach full retirement age (see below) there is no reduction in benefits for continuing to work.
- Even if you are retired, you can wait to apply for Social Security until a later age so that you get a higher benefit.
- Read Should You Take Social Security At Age 62 to see both the pros and cons of starting benefits at this age.
Social Security Full Retirement Age (age 65-67 depending on your year of birth)
- Your full retirement age is the age at which you get your full amount of Social Security benefits.
- For every year you delay taking your benefits from full retirement age until age 70 your benefit amount will increase by almost 8% a year.
- To see the financial difference in taking benefits at 62, 66 or age 70 see the example at the bottom of When To Take Social Security.
Social Security Retirement Age 70 - Use To Accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits
- At age 70 you will get the maximum amount of benefits from Social Security because between your full retirement age and age 70 you accumulate delayed retirement credits.
- It does not make sense to delay your Social Security retirement age past age 70.
- Waiting until age 70 to begin your Social Security makes sense if you have a longer life expectancy. It is one of the 5 Planning Decisions Affected By Life Expectany that you will need to make.