Figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA) from February 2022 showed that more than 70.1 million people in the United States currently receive Social Security assistance. Of this number, 50.4 million receive retirement benefits.
It’s the largest federal retirement program offered, but getting the right one can be a bit confusing. There is no set age at which you must start receiving monthly payments, but when you first apply for assistance will affect the amount you receive each month.
Each individual has a “full retirement age”, which can vary depending on the year of their birth. Regardless of your full retirement age, you can start collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, but choosing to defer payments will net you a larger monthly payment when you decide to claim the support.
Once you reach age 70, the monthly payment remains the same. With that in mind, you should try to delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits as long as possible, until age 70 if possible.
What is my full social security retirement age?
Over time, the full retirement age in the United States has risen slightly as citizens begin to live longer, workers’ jobs become less physically demanding, and the national workforce slightly aging.
Full retirement age, depending on your year of birth, varies between 66 and 67 years.
If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you were born after this date, your retirement age will increase by two months for each year after 1954 in which you were born. For example, a worker born in 1956 would reach full retirement age at the exact age of 66 years and four months.
The the maximum age for full retirement is 67no matter how long after 1954 you were born.
For more details to help you plan the start of your Social Security retirement benefits, see the SSA Full Retirement Age Chart.
It is possible to retire and continue working
This is particularly important in the current period of high inflation in the US economy. Even if you want to retire, that doesn’t stop you from working. There are income thresholds that could result in some of your pension benefits being cut off. If you are under 67, there is a limit to how much you can earn in a year before your benefits are reduced. For 2022, the annual income limit is $19,560.
If you earn above this threshold, the SSA will reduce your benefit payments $1 for every $2 you earn.
If you will arrive full retirement age in 2022, your earnings limit before penalties will be $51,960. If you earn above this limit after reaching full retirement age, the SSA will deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit. However, only income before the month in which you reach full retirement age is taken into account.