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Social Security: What is your full retirement age?

Millions of Americans will eventually collect Social Security payments. What they know and do leading up to that point is what matters.

social security card with cash representing social security benefits

People can legally start collecting their Social Security benefits at 62.

They aren’t entitled to the full benefit until they reach their full retirement age.


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Full retirement age for Social Security explained

Your full retirement age, also known as FRA, is the age you are able to retire and see 100% of your benefits.

The year and month you hit your FRS depends on what year you were born.

This did not come to exist until 1983.

Before then, the retirement age was just 65 for everyone.


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When Congress changed it in 1983, they defined FRA as a sliding scale that pays people based on longer life expectancy and healthier lives.

Right now the FRA rises every birth year and will stop for anyone turning 67 that was born in 1960 or later.

The change was for anyone born in 1938 or later.


Payment dates for SSI, SSDI, Social Security

Collecting benefits before and after your FRA

If you choose to collect at the earliest point possible, which is age 62, you may see a decrease permanently in your benefits.

This decrease could be as high as 30%.

If your birth year was 1955, then your FRA is 66 years and 2 months old.

This increases for each birth year and stops at 67.

If you wait until age 70 to collect Social Security benefits, you could see a major boost.

For each year you wait past your FRA you can see an 8% increase.

This will end at age 70, so it’s best to retire then since that amount will no longer increase.

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