You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Your monthly benefit amount will be different depending on the age you start receiving it. If you choose to:

  • start your benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. The reduction in your benefit amount also depends on the year you were born. The maximum reduction at age 62 will be

    • 25 percent for people who reach age 62 in 2013.
    • 30 percent for people born after 1959.

    You could see a change in your benefit amount if you work after you start receiving benefits.

    Some of your benefits may be withheld if you have excess earnings. However, after you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months in which you did not receive some benefit because of your earnings.

  • wait until full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced.

    Note: If you are full retirement age, you can apply for retirement benefits and then request to have payments suspended. That way, your spouse can receive a spouse's benefit and you will continue to earn delayed retirement credits until age 70.

  • delay benefits until after full retirement age, your benefit will be increased based on the number of months you do not receive benefits between full retirement age and age 70.

    Caution: If you apply for benefits more than 6 months after the month you reach full retirement age, we can only pay benefits for the previous 6 months.

    There is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

Note: Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due.

If you tell us you want your benefits to start in May, you will receive your first benefit check in June. (If you want to receive your first benefit check in May, you need to be eligible for benefits in April AND tell us you want your benefits to start that month.)

Do you plan to keep working beyond full retirement age?

YES

Delayed retirement credits may increase your benefits.

NO

Go to the next step.

NOT SURE

You may be able to continue working while you get benefits.