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In 2017, Americans born in 1955 become eligible to claim Social Security benefits at age 62.

Claiming benefits before reaching full retirement age results in a permanently reduced benefit, so it requires careful consideration. But for those born in 1955 or later, the math for claiming is different than for older age groups.

The shift dates back to the Social Security Amendments of 1983. This shift made changes to strengthen the program by gradually increasing the full retirement age (FRA) from 65 to 67. The first phase of this increase resulted in a FRA of 66 for those born in 1946 to 1954. For those born in 1955, FRA is 66 and two months. Each additional birth year adds two months. For those born in  1960 or later, 67 is the full retirement age (see chart).

Social Security Claiming Age 2017: early or late?

The minimum and maximum Social Security Claiming Age 2017 remain at 62 and 70, respectively. However, because Social Security benefit calculations are based on full retirement age, the change affects the benefits paid at all claiming ages before or after full retirement age.

For example, whereas someone born between 1946 and 1954 who filed at age 62 would have received 75% of the full benefit, someone born in 1955 would receive only 74.17% of the full benefit at age 62. This percentage will be reduced gradually until it reaches 70% for those born in 1960 or later.

Delayed retirement credits for working past full retirement age will remain the same, increasing the benefit by 8% each year. However, as FRA increases, the amount of time to earn credits will decrease. Someone with a full retirement age of 66 could earn four years of credits before claiming at age 70, and would potentially receive a benefit equivalent to 132% of the full benefit amount. However, someone born with a full retirement age of 67 would have only three years between FRA and age 70, so the maximum benefit would be 124% of the full benefit amount.

Social Security rules are complex, so be sure to research your options before making a decision on when to claim benefits. See https://www.ssa.gov for further information.

Your Social Security claiming age is important.

Let me show you how to get the most from your retirement planning. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me  (866) 471-7233.

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