What Is the Full Retirement Age?

Choosing to retire is a big step, and you’ll want to make sure your transition is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Understanding your full retirement age is essential to adequately prepare for your golden years.

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We know there are a lot of questions surrounding your social security retirement age, retirement income, and Medicare benefits. Today, we’ll break those down and provide answers. Your social security full retirement age varies based on your birth year. So, to retire, you’ll want to consider personal and outside factors.

Additionally, healthcare is an important aspect to consider when you retire. Medicare benefits are available to those who qualify, but how are they affected by your decision to retire? Learn more about when you qualify for 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?

Full retirement age is the age at which a beneficiary is entitled to receive the total allowance of Social Security benefits provided each month. Your birth year determines your full retirement age for Social Security.

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. Therefore, if you were born after 1959, your S.S.’s full retirement age will be 67.

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.

What Is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?

Understand your full retirement age based on your birth year.

A full-age retirement is when you get all of your Social Security benefits, but the year you were born comes into play. You can take your benefits early at the age of 62, but there is a reduction of up to 30% that you’ll incur by doing so.

Alternatively, suppose you have a disability and enough work credits. In that case, you can also apply for Social Security benefits, but for retirement purposes, knowing your full retirement age is imperative for financial planning.

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For many, life after retirement requires careful financial planning and living on a fixed income. At the same time, there is a shift in how you’ll likely spend your money in your golden years. For example, you’ll probably have a higher focus on healthcare costs as you age.

This is why it’s important to understand where you fall and how your benefits are affected once you enter retirement. Below, we’re breaking this down further by year to help retirees like you make informed decisions by understanding how to prepare accordingly.

Full Retirement Age 1955

S.S.A.’s full retirement age for those born in 1955 is 66 years and two months. You can claim your benefits before this time at the age of 62, but by doing so, you’ll forfeit a portion of your benefits in the process and only receive a total of 74.2%. You can receive 92.2% of your monthly benefits by retiring at 65.

Full Retirement Age 1956

What is the full retirement age for someone born in 1956? Sixty-six years and four months. Although this is the full retirement age when born in 1956 to receive 100% of their 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 1957

What is the full retirement age for someone born in 1957? Sixty-six years and six months. If you were born in 1957, you’d receive 100% of your S.S. 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 1958

If you were born in 1958, your Social Security retirement age for 100% of your benefits is 66 years and eight months. You can permanently retire at age 62, but you’ll only receive 71.7% of your monthly amount. If you want to hang ‘em up at age 65, you’ll receive 88.9% of your monthly benefit amount.

Full Retirement Age 1959

If your birth year is 1959, you reach full retirement at 66 `and ten months. It’s at this time you can retire and expect to receive 100% of your monthly benefit. Early retirement at age 62 will receive 70.8% of your monthly benefit, and at age 65, you’ll receive 87.8% of your Social Security benefits.

Full Retirement Age 1960

Anyone that was born in the year 1960 or later will have a designated full retirement age of 67 years old. If you were born in 1960 specifically, you can retire at age 62 and receive 70% of your Social Security benefits, as well as at 65 years of age to receive 86.7% of your monthly benefits.

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What Is the Average Retirement Age?

According to a 2022 survey from Gallup, the average retirement age is 61. This is an interesting trend, considering the earliest you can claim S.S. benefits is age 62.

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 benefits, it’s important to plan accordingly.

Claiming your benefits a year later is a viable option, but you will need to remember that early retirement comes with a significant discount on your monthly benefits. Therefore, if you are not in a financially stable place to do so, waiting may be a better option for your immediate and future financial health.

Does Working After Full Retirement Age Increase Social Security Benefits?

Your Social Security benefits may increase if you continue working after full retirement, but it depends and is not guaranteed. This is because 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.

How Much Can I Earn at Full Retirement Age?

If you retire at full retirement for S.S. benefits, you’ll receive 100% of your monthly benefit payment. SSI benefit amounts for 2023 are broken down into monthly payments as follows:

  • $914 per individual
  • $1,371 per couple
  • $458 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.

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, so long as you have 40 work credits (10 years of work) completed. While you can receive early retirement benefits at 62, you’ll still need to wait for Medicare benefits, provided you are not disabled.

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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.

Furthermore, there is a bit of confusion about Medicare and full retirement. There is no Medicare full retirement age, per se. Because the age for full retirement and Medicare eligibility are unrelated, even if they both take place near similar ages within your life cycle.

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.

If You Retire Early, Can You Get Medicare?

No, because Medicare eligibility doesn’t correlate with your retirement age. 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.

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.

Can You Buy Medicare at 65 Before Full Age Retirement?

Yes, you can enroll in Medicare benefits at the age of 65, even if you have not reached your full retirement age. Both of these benchmarks are important for financial planning but work independently of one another. Therefore, if you are still not at your Social Security retirement age for full benefits but have reached the age of 65, you can enroll in Medicare benefits while waiting to draw S.S. benefits.

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Because the full retirement age has been raised as an ongoing effort to ensure the program’s financial health, this is an important thing to note for newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Again, waiting to enroll can cause you to pay penalties or potentially miss out on desired healthcare coverage altogether.

Choosing when to take your full retirement is a personal choice that can require examining many different factors, but taking advantage of your Medicare benefits as soon as you are eligible is the best practice for all who are eligible.

Should I Apply for Supplemental Medicare Before Full Retirement Age?

Because Medicare eligibility comes before your full retirement age, if you are looking to receive Medicare Supplement benefits, then yes, you should apply before your full retirement age.

The earliest that anyone can collect Social Security benefits at 100% is age 66 for everyone born after 1942. But because Medicare benefits become available at age 65, it’s important to enroll as soon as you can to avoid issues down the line.

Unlike Original Medicare, Medigap plans come from private insurance carriers which deliver healthcare coverage that helps cover the costs left over when relying solely on the federal government’s program. This means you can be denied coverage under certain circumstances.

If you fail to enroll in Medicare benefits when you first become eligible, you may still be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, but you’ll have to pass medical underwriting first. This means if you have a pre-existing health condition that a carrier finds to be too large of a risk factor, you can be denied coverage in many cases.

Furthermore, even if you are approved for Medigap coverage with health risks, you will likely have to pay a higher monthly premium as a result. There are 12 lettered Medicare Supplement plans available, though some limitations for eligibility may apply depending on the plan.

Speaking with a licensed Medicare agent when you turn 65 can help you identify the right coverage for your needs, avoid higher rates, and ensure that you can receive the benefits that help your healthcare and budget.

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Medicare Initial Enrollment Period Full Retirement Age

For most, your eligibility for Medicare benefits begins three months before your 65th birthday and three months after you turn 65, 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.

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.

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David Haass

  • Chief Technology Officer

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and 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.

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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