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What would you say if someone asked you, ”what is your retirement age?” There is a common belief that the day of retirement is the same day a retiree should receive their benefits. However, this is not the case because everyone has a different Full Retirement Age (FRA). Qualifying to receive the Social Security retirement benefits in full is not automatic; hence, it does not happen at the same time for everyone.

As of today, 66years is pegged as the age whereby one can receive their full benefits, but they are made available at the age of 62years. A 66-year old was born in 1955. You can collect your benefits earlier, but there is the danger of having them reduced, and the vice versa is true. This also happens to spousal and survivor benefits.

A demonstration of how FRA benefits are calculated

We will assume your FRA is 66, with an entitlement of $3000 as a monthly benefit. Remember, according to Social Security, 66 is the actual retirement age. This means you will receive $3000 every month. However, since the benefits are made available from 62 years, if you choose to claim them at this age (48 months early) than the actual retirement age, you will bear a 75 percent reduction from your monthly benefit. Meaning the $3000 will be less $225.

Does waiting longer to claim your benefits increase them the more?

No. It does not, and it is not even advisable to wait for long. The much you can wait is up to 70 years, whereby an 8 percent increase is offered. This will happen for the rest of your life. However, delaying further than 70years will not have any further benefits.

But FRA is not the same as spousal benefits

Spousal benefits are applicable to present spouses and former spouses. However, for the latter, they shouldn’t have remarried for over 10years and must have attained 62years at the time they file for the benefits. Thereafter they can choose to claim them immediately or wait to reach 66years. However, current spouses must wait for their partners to file their benefits.