If you were born in 1955 or later, be aware that your 66th birthday is not the day you should file for Social Security -- if you want your full benefit, that is.
This is due to Social Security Amendments passed by Congress in 1983. Congress cited improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy as primary reasons for increasing the normal retirement age. Full retirement age is the point at which you are eligible for 100 percent of your Social Security benefit, and it is increasing from its former anchor point of 65.
You can begin receiving Social Security as early as age 62, but for each year below your full retirement age you are when you begin, the monthly benefit will be 8 percent less than filing at full retirement age. An example: If your 100 percent Social Security benefit is $2,000 and you file to start receiving it at age 62, your monthly benefit will be $1,360 for the remainder of your life – 32 percent less than your 100 percent benefit.
On the other hand, if the person with the same $2,000 full benefit waits until age 70 to file, the monthly benefit will be $2,640 – an additional eight percent per calendar year.
Take note of these actual “full retirement age” thresholds for receiving full Social Security benefits, based on your birth year:
- 1955: 66 years, 2 months
- 1956: 66 years, 4 months
- 1957: 66 years, 6 months
- 1958: 66 years, 8 months
- 1959: 66 years, 10 months
- 1960 and forward: 67 years
The SSA’s Retirement Age Calculator is available here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/ageincrease.html