Social Security Benefits

When should you retire? What are your options?


"Can I apply for Social Security benefits online?"
When can you receive full Social Security benefits?
Are the age requirements different than Medicare?
How will your benefits be affected if you retire early?
Can you increase your benefits?
Can you receive benefits if you continue to work?
Will your benefits be reduced if you continue to work?
Where can you get more information online?
Questions from our visitors

Can I apply online? Yes! You can apply for both Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits online; simply click on the question.

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Full Social Security benefits. Congress modified Social Security benefits in 1983. Now, if you were born after 1937, you won't receive full Social Security benefits at age 65. For full Social Security benefits, you must now wait until you reach the following age:

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943 - 1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 or later 67
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Medicare: These requirements don't apply to Medicare benefits. For most people, Medicare's coverage begins on the first day of the month of your 65th birthday, even if your birthday is on the last day of the month. If you aren't receiving Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits when you turn 65, you must enroll in Medicare at your nearest Social Security office.

Important: Sign up for Medicare 3 months before reaching age 65, even if you plan to continue working past age 65. If you don't, your Part B coverage could be delayed and you could have a higher premium.

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Retire early. You can begin receiving your retirement benefit as early as age 62. But, if you retire on your 62nd birthday, your monthly benefit will be reduced as follows:

Year of Birth Reduction
1938 20.83%
1939 21.67%
1940 22.50%
1941 23.33%
1942 24.17%
1943 - 1954 25%
1955 25.84%
1956 26.66%
1957 27.50%
1958 28.33%
1959 29.17%
1960 or later 30%

You aren't limited to retiring early at just age 62. If your Full Retirement Age is 66 and you retire early at age ...

63, your monthly benefit will be reduced by 20%.
64, your monthly benefit will be reduced by 13.33%.
65, your monthly benefit will be reduced by 6.67%.

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Increase your benefit. You don't have to begin receiving your monthly benefit when you reach Full Retirement Age (see chart above). If you delay, they will be increased for each month of your delay between your ...

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