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What is the Social Security Retirement Age?

Social Security's full-benefit retirement age is increasing gradually because of legislation passed by Congress in 1983. Traditionally, the full benefit age was 65, and early retirement benefits were first available at age 62, with a permanent reduction to 80 percent of the full benefit amount. Currently, the full benefit age is 66 years and 2 months for people born in 1955, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Early retirement benefits will continue to be available at age 62, but they will be reduced more. When the full-benefit age reaches 67, benefits taken at age 62 will be reduced to 70 percent of the full benefit and benefits first taken at age 65 will be reduced to 86.7 percent of the full benefit.

There is a financial bonus for delayed retirement. An individual reaching the full-benefit age in 2017 (66 years and 2 months old) receives a monthly benefit that is 8 percent higher for each year he or she delays collecting benefits. When the full benefit age reaches 67, benefits claimed at age 70 will be 24 percent higher because of that delay. The maximum retirement benefit in 2017 for someone who waits until age 70 to collect benefits is $3,538 a month.

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* The views of Academy members are their own and not an official position of the National Academy of Social Insurance or its funders.