You can start receiving Social Security benefits a month after you turn 62, but if you wait until your full retirement age, or FRA, you’ll be able to collect your full benefit. If you start withdrawing your benefits before that age, you’ll get less than the full amount.
Your full retirement age is different from the person next to you because it depends on when you were born, down to the month. To find out when exactly you’ll reach that your FRA, you can check out the Social Security Administration’s site.
Here it tells us that if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. For every year after that, the age increases by 2 months. For anyone born after the year 1960, your full retirement age is 67.
So let’s say I turned 62, and start taking my benefits right away, even though my full retirement age is 67 because I was born after 1960. That means my monthly benefit amount will be $700, assuming my full benefit is $1,000. If I wait a year – until I’m 63 – my check will be $750. But if I wait until 70 to collect, I’ll get $1,240 a month, which is about 77% higher than what I get when I start at 62, and 24% higher than if I’d start collecting at 67.
Of course, there’s a lot more you have to consider as you decide when exactly you can start collecting, like your own physical health, your other sources of retirement income, your loved ones, not to mention your own desire to keep working. But the bottom line is that working longer and delaying retirement until you’re 70 will result in more money in your monthly SS check.
Have any more questions on Social Security? Email Yahoo’s Personal Finance team at YFmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.