Courtesy: Social Security Administration
After a lifetime of working, you deserve a comfortable retirement. For over 80 years, Social Security has been helping people shape their future by assisting them with a variety of benefits.
It is up to you to decide when you want to start receiving retirement benefits. You could start them a little earlier or wait until your “full retirement age,” or even delay retirement in order to get extra money each month. There are benefits to either decision.
“Full retirement age” refers to the age at which a person can receive their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part- or full-time. In other words, you need not stop working in order to receive your full benefits.
For people who reach age 62 in 2018 (i.e., those born between Jan. 2, 1956, and Jan. 1, 1957), full retirement age is 66 and four months. Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches age 67 for everyone born after 1959.
You can learn more about full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html.
You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or any time after that. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be, although it stops increasing at age 70. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start receiving them any time before your full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2018 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced permanently by nearly 27 percent.
On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefit will be higher. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of 1 percent for each month –– or 8 percent for each year — that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70. The choices you make may affect any benefit your spouse or children can receive on your record, too. If you receive benefits early, it may reduce their potential benefit as well as yours.
You need to be as informed as possible when making any decision about receiving Social Security benefits. Read the publication When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf.
When to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal decision based on your own situation. Check out our Retirement Checklist at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10377.pdf to learn about additional factors to consider as you think about when to start receiving your retirement benefits.
If you decide to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should also understand how continuing to work can affect your benefits. Social Security may withhold or reduce your benefits if your annual earnings exceed a certain amount. However, every month that your benefits are withheld may increase your future benefits. That’s because at your full retirement age, Social Security will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months in which benefits were reduced or withheld due to your excess earnings.
You can learn more at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html.
Social Security’s mission is to secure your today and tomorrow. You can learn more by visiting our Retirement Planner at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire.
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.