What is Full Retirement Age?
Full Retirement Age (FRA) is determined by your day and year of birth. It is the age at which you receive your full amount of Social Security benefits.
- If you collect benefits earlier than FRA, they are reduced.
- If you begin benefits later than FRA they are increased.
Day and Year of Birth Determine Your FRA
Social Security considers you to have attained an age the day before your birthday, so the calendar years in the table below apply to someone born on January 2 of that year to someone born on January 1 of the following year. Keeping that in mind, here is full retirement age by year of birth:
- If you were born in 1937 or earlier, Full Retirement Age is 65.
- 1938: 65 and 2 months
- 1939: 65 and 4 months
- 1940: 65 and 6 months
- 1941: 65 and 8 months
- 1942: 65 and 10 months
- 1943--1954: 66
- 1955: 66 and 2 months
- 1956: 66 and 4 months
- 1957: 66 and 6 months
- 1958: 66 and 8 months
- 1959: 66 and 10 months
- If you were born in 1960 or later, Full Retirement Age is 67.
If You Were Born on the 1st of The Year or 1st of the Month
When determining your Full Retirement Age, as noted above, it is important to know that according to the Social Security rules, you are considered to attain an age the day before your birthday. If you were born on the first of the year, use the Full Retirement Age for the year before your year of birth.
For purposes of the month you are entitled to receive benefits, if you were born on the first of the month, you are considered to attain that age the month before. Someone born February 1 of 1950 would be entitled to receive their Full Retirement Age benefit amount for the month of January, although benefits are paid in arrears, so the check would not be received until the month of February.
On Social Security's website see the Full Retirement Age page for additional details.
FRA is Different for a Widow or Widower
If you are applying for a widow or widower's benefit, the earliest age you can receive these benefits is age 60, when you would receive a reduced benefit, and your FRA is slightly different than the schedule above. For example, an FRA of 66 for your survivor benefit applies to those born in years 1945 - 1956 vs. the range in the list above. See Full Retirement Age for Survivors for details.
Why Knowing Your Full Retirement Age is So Important
Knowing your Full Retirement Age is important for two reasons.
- If you take Social Security benefits before your Full Retirement Age, you will receive a reduced benefit. See the fourth step in How To Calculate Social Security Benefits for an example of how the reduction works.
- If you take Social Security benefits before Full Retirement Age, and you earn income in excess of the annual earnings limit, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. Once you reach Full Retirement Age, you can earn as much as you like and your Social Security benefit will not be reduced.