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What Is the Full Retirement Age?

Summary: The full retirement age can range from 66-67 years depending on when you were born. Your birth year determines your full retirement age for Social Security. However, you can see larger benefit checks if you delay your retirement to 70. Estimated Read Time: 9 min

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Table of Contents:

    1. What is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?
    2. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1955
    3. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1956
    4. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1957
    5. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1958
    6. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1959
    7. Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1960
    8. What Is the Average Retirement Age?
    9. Does Working After Full Retirement Age Increase Social Security Benefits?
    10. What is the Maximum Social Security Benefit at Full Retirement Age?
    11. Why Is the Age of Retirement Rising?
    12. If You Retire Early, Can You Get Medicare?
    13. Medicare Retirement Age for Full Benefits
    14. Medicare Initial Enrollment Period Full Retirement Age
    15. How to Prepare for Full Retirement and Medicare

When it comes time to retire from the workforce, it is important that you take the right steps to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition. The age at which you retire will play a huge factor in the amount of income you receive from Social Security.

If you will rely heavily on this income in retirement, it is important to know when your full retirement age is and how you can make the most of your Social Security benefits.

We know there are a lot of questions surrounding your social security retirement age, retirement income, and Medicare benefits. Your social security full retirement age varies based on your birth year. However, your Medicare eligibility sate stays the same.

During retirement, healthcare can be just as important of an aspect to consider as income. Medicare benefits are available to those who qualify, but how are they affected by your decision to retire?

Below, we review the full retirement age for social security, how it affects your retirement income, and your options for getting the most out of your Medicare benefits.

What is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?

Full retirement age is the age you become eligible to receive your full Social Security benefit amount each month. Your full retirement age is dependent on the year you were born, so not everyone will be able to retire at the same age.

Because Americans are living longer and collecting more during retirement, the full retirement age has risen over the years. Previously set at 65, the full social security retirement age is set to increase incrementally over twenty-two years.

We understand this can be confusing, so we’ve created our full retirement age chart. Here, you can better understand where you fall with your birth year in relation to your full retirement age.

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Understand your full retirement age based on your birth year.

If you retire at your full retirement age, you will receive all of the Social Security benefits you are entitled to. You can decide to retire early and take your benefits before your full retirement age. However, you can face an up to 30% reduction in monetary benefits by doing so.

Additionally, you may delay your retirement to increase the amount you will receive. Each year you delay retirement up to 70 years old will increase the amount you are entitled to.

For many, life after retirement requires careful financial planning and living on a fixed income. This is why it’s important to understand your full retirement age and how your benefits are affected once you retire.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1955

If you were born in 1955, your full retirement age for Social Security is 66 years and two months. At this time, you can begin receiving Social Security benefits at your full amount.

Remember, you can claim your benefits as early as age 62, but by doing so, you’ll forfeit a portion of your income in the process.

If you decide to enroll in benefits at 62, you’ll only receive 74.2% of your entitled income. You can receive 92.2% of your monthly benefits by retiring at 65.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1956

66 years and four months is the full retirement age for someone born in 1956.

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Although this is the full retirement age to receive 100% of your benefits, retiring at 62 will entitle you to 73.3% of your monthly benefit amount. Retiring at 65 gets you a 91.1% monthly benefit.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1957

Individuals born in 1957 will meet their full retirement age requirement at 66 years and six months.

If you were born in 1957, you’d receive 100% of your Social Security benefits at this time, should you retire. For those retiring at 62, you’ll receive 72.5% of your monthly benefit, and at age 65, you’re entitled to 90% of the monthly benefit amount.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1958

If you were born in 1958, your full Social Security retirement age is 66 years and eight months.

If you wish to retire early, you can permanently retire at age 62, but you’ll only receive 71.7% of your monthly entitlement. If you decide to retire at 65, you’ll receive 88.9% of your monthly benefit amount.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1959

If your birth year is 1959, you reach full retirement at 66 years and ten months.

Early retirement at age 62 will allow you to receive 70.8% of your monthly benefit, and at age 65, you’ll receive 87.8% of your Social Security benefits.

Full Retirement Age: Birth Year 1960

Anyone born in the year 1960 or later will have a designated full retirement age of 67 years old.

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If you were born in 1960 specifically, you can retire at age 62 and receive 70% of your Social Security benefits. If you wish to retire at 65 years of age, you will be subject to receive 86.7% of your monthly benefits.

What Is the Average Retirement Age?

According to a 2022 survey from Gallup, the average retirement age in the united states is 61 years old. However, this is an interesting trend, as the earliest you can receive Social Security income is 62 years old.

While you may not be eligible for Social Security at 61, many employees have pension plans or retirement accounts through their employers that offer a solid financial backing to an early retirement.

Everyone has a different financial outlook, and making decisions about your financial future should be done with a professional. But if you do retire before you are eligible for Social Security benefits, it’s important to plan accordingly.

Does Working After Full Retirement Age Increase Social Security Benefits?

It is possible to increase the amount you receive through Social Security. Your Social Security benefits may increase if you continue working after full retirement age, but it is not guaranteed.

Social Security amounts are calculated using your 35 highest earned working years. In order for your benefits to grow, you’ll have to earn enough money that is higher than the highest 35 working years you have on record.

This could increase your average income, thus increasing your benefits.

However, in addition to continuing to work after full retirement age, you can also increase your Social Security income by extending receiving benefits until you turn 70. Once you turn 70, you will max out the amount you can receive for Social Security.

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What is the Maximum Social Security Benefit at Full Retirement Age?

If you retire at full retirement for Social Security benefits, you’ll receive 100% of your monthly benefit payment. SSI benefit amounts for 2024 are broken down into monthly payments as follows:

  • $943 per individual
  • $1,415 per couple
  • $472 per essential person

Receiving your benefits before full retirement can be achieved at age 62, but there is a reduction in benefits by claiming them at this age.

Why Is the Age of Retirement Rising?

In 1983, the Social Security program was having issues financially. Because of this, the idea of raising the age of retirement came about to help sustain the program. The H.R.1900 – Social Security Amendments of 1983 legislation would pass, and the Social Security Administration would maintain the program accordingly, where it still provides retirement benefits to eligible Americans today.

A higher retirement age means that more people are contributing to the program for a longer amount of time. This allows the program to add more money to its growing account that in turn allows it to pay out the benefits to enrollees.

Everyone who pays into the program is entitles to receiving its benefits.

If You Retire Early, Can You Get Medicare?

Medicare eligibility does not correlate with your retirement age. Therefore, you can receive Medicare at age 65 regardless of your retirement status. There are instances in which you may be able to qualify for Medicare before turning the age of 65 if you are disabled, but if you are simply retiring before this time, it will not make you eligible for Medicare benefits.

Although you can’t enroll early, you also don’t want to sign up for your Medicare benefits late. Doing so can cause you to pay more upfront for Original Medicare benefits due to late penalties. Your Medicare Part D coverage will also incur a lifetime penalty that will never go away.

Furthermore, any Medigap coverage you wish to enroll in may require medical underwriting to obtain if you wait to enroll.

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In conclusion, while retiring early doesn’t affect your ability to obtain Medicare benefits, it’s still important to plan and to avoid signing up later than your 65th birthday whenever possible.

Medicare Retirement Age for Full Benefits

You can receive full Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) benefits when you turn 65 years old. While you can receive early retirement Social Security benefits at 62, you’ll still need to wait for Medicare benefits, provided you are not disabled.

The same applies to enrolling in other Medicare benefits, including Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), and Medicare Part D coverage. To receive any of these benefits, you must be at least 65 years old under normal circumstances.

Remember, your full retirement age depends on your birth year, and eligibility for Medicare occurs when you turn 65 years old. The two are not connected.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period Full Retirement Age

For most, your eligibility for Medicare benefits begins three months before your 65th birthday and lasts for three months after you turn 65. This is known as your Initial Enrollment Period. This includes eligibility for Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D benefits.

Some may refer to this as the full Medicare retirement age, but it’s inaccurate and can be misleading. This is because while both are essential benefits later in life, the retirement age affects Social Security benefits, not Medicare. Therefore, regardless of your retirement status, you can receive Medicare benefits as long as you qualify and are 65 years or older.

How to Prepare for Full Retirement and Medicare

Preparing for your retirement means looking at multiple areas of your life. It’s an important and deserving milestone, but every decision you make matters.

However, you can create a game plan that works for your lifestyle by planning ahead. To help get you started, here are some essential points to remember when planning:

  • Start saving money and set financial goals
  • Pay off as much debt as possible
  • Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings program
  • Understand your employer’s pension plan
  • Explore your Social Security benefits and the age you wish to retire
  • Calculate your retirement expenses

In addition to your finances, you’ll also want to prepare for your healthcare after retirement. Many Medicare benefits are available for those turning 65, and by taking the proper steps, you can enroll in the coverage you deserve while keeping costs low.

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Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Even if you already have Medicare benefits, reviewing your coverage from time to time is a great idea and ensuring that you’re enrolled with the right benefits for your lifestyle. Speaking with a licensed Medicare agent can help.

If you’re at your full retirement age and eligible for Medicare benefits, call us at the number above to speak to one of our experts. Additionally, if you don’t have time to call, that’s not a problem. Our online rate tool is also available for quick, accurate rate comparison.

David Haass

David Haass

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. He is a member and regular contributor to Forbes Finance Council and stay up-to-date with the latest Medicare trends and changes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

2 thoughts on "What Is the Full Retirement Age?"

  1. Once I reach full retirement age drawing 100% of my SS can I have unlimited income and not effect my SS? When I say unlimited I mean like $50,000 per year.

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