Full Retirement Age

Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age at which you can claim Social Security without reducing your benefits. This article will help you understand the Full Retirement Age (FRA).

At full retirement age, a person can receive a primary insurance amount (PIA) representing their inflation-adjusted average wages earned throughout their career. This amount is subject to benefit adjustments based on when the worker claims benefits relative to their FRA. In 1983, Congress changed Social Security, raising the normal retirement age to 67. This change reduced benefits for workers who retired before their new full retirement age.

Whether or not you should start collecting your Social Security benefits at full retirement age is a critical decision that will have long-term implications on your finances. You could face a reduction in your monthly benefit of as much as 30% by claiming early.

On the other hand, if you delay claiming your retirement benefits until after your full retirement age, you can earn delayed retirement credits that boost your monthly benefit. This means your benefit will be 8% higher for every year you delay claiming benefits after your full retirement age.

This is especially true if a spouse is still working and eligible for survivor benefits. These benefits start at 60, and you can also switch your own benefits to these later if you are a widow or widower.

Delaying your retirement benefits can be a good decision for people who want to work but are not yet ready to retire. But it is important to understand the implications before deciding when to claim your Social Security.

The debate over when to claim Social Security benefits has roiled the political landscape in recent years, especially concerning aging populations. In particular, the current debate is focused on raising the retirement age. This is a hot-button issue not only in the United States but in Europe as well.

Understanding Social Security Benefits
Full Retirement Age 1

Understanding Social Security Benefits

Your Social Security benefits are based on your earnings record, so it is important to understand when you should start drawing your monthly benefit. Your benefits are decreased if you claim them before your full retirement age. However, you might be able to receive the same or more total lifetime benefits by waiting until your FRA starts collecting.

Many factors go into deciding when to retire, including your age, life expectancy, and the size of your savings. Choosing a retirement date based on your current financial situation is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

For example, you might want to wait until your full retirement age to collect your benefits if you have sufficient retirement savings and your health is good enough that you can afford to live on less income. But if you have to spend more of your retirement savings on living expenses, you may be better off retiring earlier and taking a lower monthly benefit.

Another thing to consider is your break-even point, which reflects the age at which you will receive the same amount of benefits you would have received had you started collecting benefits at your full retirement age. Generally, it takes about 12 years for this to occur.

You can earn “credits” that count toward future Social Security benefits when you claim your benefits before your full retirement age. The more credit you have, the higher your monthly benefit will be.

Full Retirement Age Chart 2024

Birth YearFull Retirement Age
1937 or earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 or later67

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