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Chapter 23. Social Security and Medicare > Retirement Benefits - Pg. 241

Social Security and Medicare 241 Retirement Benefits Full benefits are currently payable at age 65, with reduced benefits as early as age 62 to anyone with enough Social Security credits. The age at which full benefits are paid will rise in future years until it reaches age 67. (See the following table.) If you plan to start your retirement benefits early, at age 62 for instance, your benefit amount will be lower than if you had waited. Your benefits will be permanently reduced based on the number of months you will receive checks before you reach full retirement age. If your full retirement age is 65, the reduction for starting your Social Security at age 62 is about 20 percent; at age 63, it's 13.3 percent; and at 64, it's 6.66 percent. Table 23-1. Age to Receive Full Social Security Benefits Year of Birth 1937 or earlier 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943­1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 and later Full Retirement Age 65 65 and 2 months 65 and 4 months 65 and 6 months 65 and 8 months 65 and 10 months 66 66 and 2 months 66 and 4 months 66 and 6 months 66 and 8 months 66 and 10 months 67 If your full retirement age is beyond 65, that is, if you were born after 1937, like most of us, you will still be able to take your early retirement benefits at age 62, but the reduction in your benefits will be greater than it is for people retiring now. That makes sense. People born in 1962 who take early retirement benefits will see their benefits reduced by about 30 percent. But the good news is that the SSA will still allow early benefits. Early Retirement As a rule, early retirement will give you about the same total Social Security benefits as if you retired at the usual age, but in smaller amounts over a longer period. Many advisors recommend taking early benefits, so you can put that money to work for you earlier. If you apply for benefits at 65, it will take 11 years to catch up with somebody who retired early. By age 76, you'll both have received the same benefits. But from then on, the early bird will fall behind the retiree who waited, because the monthly payout will be lower. Terms to Know