When Can I Start Collecting Social Security
The minimum age to claim benefits is 62. If you are turning 62 and need the income from Social Security to support yourself, then you can start claiming your benefits now. However, if you have enough other income to keep you going until you are older, you may want to delay increasing the size of your monthly benefit.
B You Can Stop Working And Start Receiving Your Retirement Benefits
If you make the decision to stop working and start receiving retirement benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age. Also, your benefits will not increase because of additional earnings.
We calculate your benefits based on your highest 35 years of earnings, and if you stop working before you have attained 35 years of earnings or you have years with low earnings, this will affect your benefit calculation.
If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your benefit.
If you stop working and start receiving retirement benefits before age 65, you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65. If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Medicare benefits three months before you turn 65. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.
If You Stop Work Before You Start Receiving Benefits
If you stop work before you start receiving benefits and you have less than 35 years of earnings, your benefit amount is affected. We use a zero for each year without earnings when we calculate the amount of retirement benefits you are due. Years with no earnings reduces your retirement benefit amount.
Even if you have 35 years of earnings when you stopped working, some of those years may be low-earning years. When you file for retirement benefits, those years are averaged into your calculation, creating a lower benefit. However, if you had continued to work, your low earning years are replaced with your high earning years. Higher earnings increase your benefit amount.
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Raising The Retirement Age To 70 Could Save Social Security For Us All
Despite an expected backlash, vocal objections and possible threats, its time to raise Americas Social Security retirement age to 70 years with no early retirement option.
There are important reasons for America to raise Social Securitys retirement age to 70 and do away with early retirement with reduced benefits, which about half of the recipients are currently choosing before reaching full retirement age.
The first has to do with the fact that Social Security is projected to be insolvent by 2035. In its 2022 annual report, the Social Security Board of Trustees concluded that if no changes are made, the program will not be able to meet its financial responsibilities by 2035.
A second reason for raising the retirement age to 70 centers on the increasing life expectancies of Americans that have occurred over the recent past.
When Social Security was passed in 1935, average life expectancies at birth for males and females in the U.S. were approximately 60 and 64 years, respectively, and the age to receive full benefits was set at 65 years. Nearly nine decades later, life expectancies at birth for males and females have increased by approximately 14 years, i.e., to 73 and 79 years, respectively.
In addition to raising Social Securitys retirement age to 70, the early retirement option at age 62 with reduced benefits should be discontinued.
Your Options: Working Applying For Retirement Benefits Or Both
Choosing when to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits is an important decision. Theres no one choice that works for everyone because your lifestyle, finances, and goals are not the same as others.
Do you want to retire early, stay on the job, or work beyond retirement age?
Should you start receiving retirement benefits now, or wait until you can receive a higher benefit amount?
These are important questions youll need to answer as you plan for your retirement. Consider the four options below to help you make the best decision.
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No More File And Suspend
Note that the claiming strategy called file and suspend, which allowed married couples who have reached their FRA to receive spousal benefits and delayed retirement credits at the same time, ended as of May 1, 2016. However, spouses born before Jan. 2, 1954, who have attained their FRA may still be able to file a restricted application. It allows them to claim spousal benefits while delaying their own benefits up to age 70.
Social Security benefits can be taxable if your combined income is high enough.
Working After Full Retirement Age Might Increase Benefits
For the purposes of calculating your retirement benefit, working after full retirement age is essentially the same as working before. After all, youll continue to pay Social Security taxes on your earnings as long as you work, so youre still eligible to derive benefits from those earnings.
But your actual benefit will increase only if youre still earning at a level that equals or exceeds your top 35 working years. If your earnings are less, they wont affect your benefit because the SSA uses your top 35 years of earnings to calculate what youre paid.
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In this sense, its not worth it to continue working from full retirement age to age 70 if you arent earning much, at least from a Social Security benefit perspective. Obviously, youll still get to keep the money you earn but, unless those years are among your top 35, your Social Security retirement benefit wont increase.
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How To Get A New Social Security Card
If you lose your Social Security card, you dont need a replacement in most cases. Just knowing your number is enough, SSA says.
If you do need a replacement, you can apply online with a free my Social Security account or in-person. If you cant use your account to request a replacement card, you can still start the process and complete it at a local Social Security office, typically more quickly, SSA says. In that case, though, youll need to provide required documents, such as a birth certificate, drivers license and passport.
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Receiving Survivors Benefits Early
The earliest a widow or widower can start receiving Social Security survivors benefits based on age will remain at age 60.
Widows or widowers benefits based on age can start any time between age 60 and full retirement age as a survivor. If the benefits start at an earlier age, they are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before full retirement age.
If a person receives widows or widowers benefits, and will qualify for a retirement benefit thats more than their survivors benefit, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation. Talk to a Social Security representative about the options available.
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How Does Working After Full Retirement Age Affect My Benefits
Continuing to work past your full retirement age, whether or not you take benefits, can potentially increase your future benefits. Thats because the Social Security administration calculates your primary insurance amount based upon your 35 highest-earning years and uses zeros for the calculation if you have worked fewer than 35 years.
Working longer replaces each of those zeroes, or even lower earning years if you have no zeros, which boosts your PIA. Its also important to note that lower-earning years after retirement will not affect your benefits since Social Security uses whichever 35 years are your highest earning.
What If You Are Divorced
If you are divorced from a worker who is entitled to a Social Security retirement benefit, and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, you may have the opportunity to claim benefits on your ex-spouses recordeven if he or she remarried.
- If you are divorced, you can receive spousal benefits on your ex-spouses record if you are unmarried, at least 62 years old, and the benefit youre entitled to on your ex-spouses record is more than what you could get through your own record.
- If your ex-spouse dies, you may be entitled to a survivors benefit on his or her record. You can claim as early as age 60 for reduced benefits, or receive full benefits at your full retirement age. And if you remarry after age 60, theres no impact on your eligibility.
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How Soon Can I Take Social Security
When it comes to receiving the maximum Social Security benefit possible, timing is important. Sometimes beneficiaries may receive more by delaying withdrawal, but some older adults may need the funds sooner.
Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Do I want to retire early?
- Do I want to/need to work past age 70?
- What happens to my Medicare if I work past age 65?
The SSA website offers future planning calculators, opens new window to help you estimate things that can affect retirement. These include life expectancy, pension eligibility, spousal benefits and retirement age.2
While you can take benefits as early as age 62, it may not be recommended. Only those on disability, or surviving spouses, can take Social Security earlier than 62.3
Your full retirement age, also known as normal retirement age, determines if you can receive full benefits. While the original full retirement age was 65 for all, heres a snapshot of how the law has changed:
If you take Social Security up to 36 months before your full retirement age, your benefit will be permanently reduced by 5/9 of 1%. If you withdraw more than 36 months early, your benefit is reduced by 5/12 of 1% each month.4
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If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66
You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.
The chart below provides examples of the percentage of your full retirement benefit amount you and your spouse would receive from age 62 up to your full retirement age.
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Is Social Security Taxable
It depends on your income. Youll be taxed on up to 50% of your benefits if your income is $25,000 to $34,000 for an individual, or $32,000 to $44,000 for married couples filing jointly, according to AARP. Up to 85% of your benefits are taxable if your income is more than $34,000 for an individual or $44,000 for a married couple.
A You Can Continue Working And Start Receiving Your Retirement Benefits
If you start your benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age.
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time before your full retirement age. However your benefits will be reduced if you earn more than the yearly earnings limits.
After you reach your full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months you did not receive a benefit because of your earnings. We will send you a letter that explains any increase in your benefit amount.
If you delay filing for your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit. If you also continue to work, you will be able to receive your full retirement benefits and any increase resulting from your additional earnings when we recalculate your benefits. Once you reach full retirement age, your earnings do not affect your benefit amount.
If you start receiving retirement benefits before age 65, you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65. If you or your spouse are still working and covered under an employer-provided group health plan, talk to the personnel office before signing up for Medicare Part B. To learn more, read our Medicare publication.
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Payment Schedule For Ssi Benefits
SSI monthly benefit payments are paid on the 1st day of each month. If the 1st is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, then you will receive the monthly benefits on the earliest previous working day. Heres the SSI payment schedule for 2023-
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Working While Receiving Benefits
You may work after you start receiving benefits, which could mean a higher benefit for you in the future. We may withhold some of your benefits if you earn more than the yearly earnings limit. Sometimes people who retire in mid-year already have earned more than the annual earnings limit. However:
- We have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year, usually the first year you begin receiving benefits. This means we cannot withhold benefits for any month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings.
- After you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to take into account any months you did not receive benefits because your earnings were too high.
Fact #: Social Security Is Especially Beneficial For Women
Social Security is especially important for women, because they tend to earn less than men, take more time out of the paid workforce, live longer, accumulate less savings, and receive smaller pensions. Women represent more than half of Social Security beneficiaries in their 60s and 7 in 10 beneficiaries in their 90s. In addition, women make up 96 percent of Social Security survivor beneficiaries.
When Can I Retire When Can I Take Social Security
Obviously, people want the option to retire as soon as they likethe earliest age generally being 62. But the decision to take Social Security retirement benefits can be complicated by your health, your marital status and your spouses Social Security plan.
One of the key factors is the year you were born, as when you were born will determine your Full Retirement Age For people born between 1943 and 1954, for example, Full Retirement Age is 66. As shown below, the Full Retirement Age creeps up by two months for every year between 1955 and 1960. Everyone born after 1960 currently has a Full Retirement Age of 67.
Full retirement age doesnt tell the full picture. As we will explain in this piece, retirement at each age has benefits and drawbacks.
Can I Work After Full Retirement Age
Beneficiaries are free to continue working while taking their Social Security benefits, no matter what age they start taking those benefits. However, working and taking Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age may affect your benefits.
If you start taking Social Security early but keep working, youre subject to whats called an earnings test. For every $2 you earn over $18,960, you will see $1 withheld in Social Security benefits. And in the year you reach full retirement age, this limit changes to $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above $50,520 up to the month of your birthday.
Once you reach full retirement age, though, you can keep every dollar of your Social Security benefits, no matter how much income you bring in. Your future benefits will also be adjusted to include the money that the earnings test previously factored out.
How To Use This Information
Each survivors situation is different. Talk to a Social Security representative before you decide to take benefits.
If you know what the workers yearly lifetime earnings were, you can use our Online Calculator to get a rough estimate of what the benefits would be for the surviving spouse at full retirement age.
If you know what the widow or widowers benefit is at full retirement age, you can use the information for the survivors year of birth to find out how much the widows or widowers benefit would be at various ages.
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What Is Social Security
Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program in our countrys history, according to the SSA. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935 as a retirement program for workers. It was part of the historic New Deal, and the first lump-sum payments were made in 1937.
Payments for workers survivors were added by Congress in 1939 and regular monthly checks started in 1940. Disability benefits were added in 1956.
Todays workers pay Social Security taxes into the program, and the money is disbursed as monthly income to beneficiaries in a pay-as-you-go system, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance.
One in five Americans receives benefits, including more than 47 million retired workers and dependents, 10 million disabled workers and dependents, and 6 million survivors of deceased workers.