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What Is the Full Retirement Age for Social Security?

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In 1983, Congress passed legislation that dealt specifically with social security's full-benefit retirement age. Back then, the age was 65. Early retirement benefits were available at age 62, although there was a caveat attached. Taking the early retirement resulted in a permanent reduction to 80 percent of the full benefit amount. The rules have changed over time but not much. 

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What is the full retirement age for social security?

The current full benefit age for social security is 66 years and two months for people born in 1955. The number rises to age 67 for individuals born from 1960 onward. Some seniors will have to wait longer to be able to cash in on their benefits, which could be a serious problem in the current economy.

How has COVID-19 affected social security benefits?

The global COVID-19 pandemic will likely have long-term consequences for the federal budget and economy. Some projections offer a disquieting look at how depletion of current social security benefits might begin as early as 2026. Assuming Congress makes no changes, social security payments might have to be cut to somewhere between 69 cents and 79 cents on the dollar. 

What are the penalties for cashing in on early retirement?

There is still an option for anxious seniors to cash in on early retirement benefits for social security. The option still begins at 62, but some aspects are less than ideal. In the past, early retirement would result in a maximum benefit yield of 80 percent. Currently, the number is lower. Benefits taken at age 62 will be reduced to 70 percent of the full benefit, which is a significant decline. 

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Should I delay my retirement?

Many people are anxious to start social security before it's entirely tapped out. They will likely opt for early retirement benefits. What those people may not understand is that there is a significant financial bonus waiting for those who delay retirement. 

Individuals who wait until age 67 will receive their full benefits. Seniors who wait longer could get a monthly benefit 8 percent higher for each year they delay collecting. The latest claiming age is 70 and the benefits are 132 percent of what they would have been if an individual retired three years earlier. The benefits amounted to about $3,538 per month in 2016 and the number has risen since then. 

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How much am I entitled to receive from social security?

If you wait until 67 to start your social security and you reach full retirement age, you are entitled to 100 percent of your allotted amount. The benefits are determined by your lifetime earnings and the year you were born. 

These dates apply to your retirement benefits and spousal earnings, which can be collected by your husband or wife. The spousal earnings aren't the same as survivor benefits. In contrast, survivor benefits can only be claimed after your spouse passes away. The full retirement age for survivors is also age 67, but it's mainly dictated by the year you were born. 

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