What Is My Full Retirement Age?
(And Why Does It Matter to My Social Security Check?)
Laws, guidelines, tax codes, regulation, health care—pretty much everything involved with the government—is constantly evolving. And the full retirement age is no different.
Life expectancy has been rising. So that means that retirees are drawing on their Social Security for much longer than they used to. Couple this with shockingly high spending for other programs, and you’ve got yourself a little budget problem on your hands. Social Security has to remain solvent somehow!
This is why the full retirement age is creeping up. Ever since Ronald Reagan signed the 1983 Social Security Act amendments, the government has been inching its way to a full retirement age of 67, like peeling off a Band-Aid nice and slow.
But What’s My Full Retirement Age?
Your full retirement age depends on when you were born. The younger you are, the closer your full retirement age will be to 67. But if you’re retiring soon, your full retirement age is likely 66. Check out this chart from SSA.gov to find out for sure:
Why Does it Matter to My Social Security Check?
Your full retirement age is when you qualify for full Social Security benefits (not to be confused with your Medicare eligibility)[LINK TO WARNING: CONFUSING MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY ELIGIBILITY]. You can apply as early as age 62, but you will receive reduced benefits, only 75% of what you would’ve received had you waited until your full retirement age.
But there’s another side to this coin. You can also delay your benefits, leading to bigger benefits. For every year you delay beyond your full retirement age, you get an extra 8% tacked onto your Social Security check every month.
These options leave a lot up to you, and I wouldn’t take them lightly. Deciding when to start your Social Security takes a lot more than just understanding your full retirement age; it calls for a carefully planned strategy, another step along the way to a successful retirement.
Looking for some strategies to help you get the most out of Social Security? Click here.