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Social security Retirement Benefit: What Is Full Retirement Age?

January 19, 20246 min read

Full retirement age (FRA) refers to the age at which you qualify to receive full, unreduced Social Security retirement benefits based on your lifetime earnings. Unlike 65 being the fixed pension age in some countries, the FRA in the US varies depending on your birth year.

Understanding your full retirement age is key to making informed decisions about the ideal time to file for benefits. This article explains how FRA works, early and delayed retirement options, and resources to help you plan well.

Social Security Full Retirement Age by Birth Year

If born before 1960, age 65 remained the standard pension milestone when eligible for complete retirement payments. But due to rising life expectancy, adjustments occurred for those born from 1943 onward:

Before 1960:

  • Full retirement age is 65

1960 and later:

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age 1943-1954 66 1955 66 and 2 months 1956 66 and 4 months 1957 66 and 6 months 1958 66 and 8 months 1959 66 and 10 months 1960 or later 67

So the full retirement age creeps up by 2 months per birth year for those born between 1955 and 1959, before finalizing at age 67 for anyone born in 1960 or beyond. This gradual shift enables Social Security funds to better cover future beneficiary needs.

Early and Delayed Retirement Options

While FRA defines when you can enjoy full benefits, retiring before or after that age brings certain adjustments:

Early Retirement

You can start receiving Social Security payments from age 62. But doing so permanently reduces your monthly payments by:

  • 5/9 of 1% for each month before age 66 if your full retirement age lies between 66 and 67

  • 5/12 of 1% for each month before age 65 if your full retirement age is 65

For example, if your FRA is 67 but you retire at 63, your monthly check gets reduced by 20%.

Delayed Retirement

Alternatively, you can delay starting benefits beyond your FRA. For each year of delay until age 70, your monthly amount gets boosted by delayed retirement credits:

  • 8% per year for those turning 62 in 2023

  • 8% per year for those with FRA of 66

  • 8% per year for those with FRA of 67

So waiting 3 years beyond age 67 locks in a 24% higher monthly payment.

Full Retirement Age and Medicare Eligibility

With FRA increasing but Medicare eligibility staying fixed at 65, a growing gap emerges between the two ages.

To enroll in Medicare at 65 regardless of work status, contact Social Security 3 months early. Some Medicare Advantage Plans allow enrollment if 64 and 9 months old.

Resources for Further Information

Navigating Social Security planning brings many questions. Useful resources provide guidance:

  • Social Security Administration's Retirement Planner - Find detailed information on eligibility requirements, benefit estimates at different ages, and rules for early versus delayed retirement credits.

  • Online Calculators - Estimate your personalized monthly payment amounts based on real earnings data and chosen retirement timing.

  • Financial Advisors - Seek professional assistance to incorporate Social Security strategies into holistic retirement planning.


Understanding your full retirement age empowers you to make the best choices on when to claim benefits based on your needs and longevity expectations. Seeking guidance from online tools and retirement experts can clarify the options to optimize this major income source.

We’re Here to Help

You do not have to spend hours reading articles on the internet to get answers to your Medicare questions. Give the licensed insurance agents at Bourgeois Insurance a Call at (985) 803-8999. You will get the answers you seek in a matter of minutes, with no pressure and no sales pitch. We are truly here to help.


What is the average retirement age for receiving social security benefits?

 The average retirement age for receiving social security benefits largely depends on the year you were born. For people born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. However, you may begin to collect social security as early as age 62, but the benefits would be reduced.

Can I work after full retirement age and still collect social security benefits?

 Yes, you can work after full retirement age and still collect your full social security benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn't limit your earnings once you reach your full retirement age.

How does taking social security benefits early affect my monthly benefit?

 If you claim social security benefits as early as age 62, your monthly benefit will be reduced. It gets reduced because you are collecting benefits for a longer period of time.

How do survivor benefits work with the average retirement age?

Survivor benefits are based on the amount the deceased worker would receive from Social Security. That benefit amount could be higher if the deceased waited until full retirement age or later to claim benefits.

Where can I find a full retirement age chart?

A full retirement age chart can be found on the Social Security Administration's (SSA) website. This chart provides information on the retirement age based on the year you were born.

What happens if I take social security benefits at age 62?

If you decide to take social security benefits at age 62, you will receive lower monthly payments. This is because you're choosing to receive payments over a longer period of time, starting earlier.

How does the average retirement age relate to my social security benefit amount?

 The age at which you decide to retire can affect your social security benefit amount. If you retire at the average retirement age or later, you are likely to receive full social security benefits. Retiring early can lower your monthly benefits.

What if I want to claim benefits before reaching the full retirement age?

 If you claim benefits before reaching the full retirement age, it results in a reduction of your monthly benefits. The reduction depends on how early you start to collect benefits.

Why is the average retirement age important for a retiree to understand?

 The average retirement age is important as it is the age at which one can receive their full social security benefits without any reduction. A retiree needs to understand this to make informed decisions about when to retire and when to start collecting benefits.

What does the phrase "full retirement age is 67" mean in terms of Social Security?

 "Full retirement age is 67" refers to the age at which a person born in 1960 or later is eligible to receive 100% of their Social Security benefits. This is also known as the normal retirement age. If you choose to take benefits earlier, they will be reduced based on how early you start.

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