Social Security benefits availability

If you’ve started receiving applications to join AARP, it’s probably time to begin planning for retirement. Will you wait until you’re 65 or take early retirement at age 62? Others may decide to work until they’re 70 or beyond.
Rick Rogers, Staff Writer Published: October 3, 2008
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If you’ve started receiving applications to join AARP, it’s probably time to begin planning for retirement. Will you wait until you’re 65 or take early retirement at age 62? Others may decide to work until they’re 70 or beyond.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) stipulates that full retirement benefits for people born between 1943 and 1954 can begin at age 66. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age has been raised to 67.

Many people decide to take early retirement at age 62. Those who do should know that their Social Security benefits will be reduced by 25 percent (for people born between 1943 and 1954) to 30 percent (those born after 1960).

Year of BirthFull (normal) Retirement
1937 or earlier 65
1938 65 + 2 months
1939 65 + 4 months
1940 65 + 6 months
1941 65 + 8 months
1942 65 + 10 months
1943-1954 66
1955 66 + 2 months
1956 66 + 4 months
1957 66 + 6 months
1958 66 + 8 months
1959 66 + 10 months
1960 and later 67

People who are considered completely disabled may also be eligible for disability retirement benefits. Social Security’s criteria for total disability are as follows:

• You cannot do work that you did before.

• You cannot adjust to other work because of medical condition(s).

• Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Regardless of age, early planning is the best way to ensure that you’ll have enough money to fully fund your retirement. The Social Security Administration website has many tools that will help you determine what’s right for your situation.