People who are planning for retirement need to know the facts about Social Security.
The first question that most people ask about Social Security is this one: When do I become eligible to receive my benefit?
The answer to this question is not as cut and dried as you may think it would be.
Exactly when you become eligible to receive your full benefit depends on the year of your birth. Individuals who were born between 1943 and 1954 become eligible when they turn 66 years of age.
Things then get a bit tedious. The age of full Social Security eligibility rises by two months every year after 1954. In other words, those born in 1955 become eligible when they are 66 years and two months old. Americans born in 1956 become eligible four months after they turn 66 years of age.
This two-month per year sequence ends in 1960. Individuals born in 1960 and after become eligible at the age of 67.
You do not have to wait until you have reach the full retirement age as as defined by the Social Security Administration to begin receiving your benefit.
Under currently existing laws you could choose to start drawing a reduced benefit at the age of 62. Whether or not this is worth it will largely depend on your lifespan.
The third option would be to go in the other direction and delay your application beyond your full retirement age. Doing this results in the accrual of delayed retirement credits that raise the amount of your benefit by 8% per year that you delay your application.
It should be noted that once you reach the age of 70 you no longer earn any additional delayed retirement credits.