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Friday September 24, 2021

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

The Most and Least Popular Ages to Claim Social Security

How much does your claiming age affect your Social Security benefits, and what are the most popular ages people start taking their retirement benefits?

You can sign up for Social Security at any time after age 62. However, your monthly payments will be larger for each month you delay claiming them up until age 70. This adds up to around 6% to 8% higher payments every year you delay.

To get a breakdown on exactly how much your claiming age affects your benefits, visit Social Security's Retirement Age Calculator at SSA.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/ageincrease.html. This tool provides your official full retirement age (FRA), which is between ages 66 and 67 depending on your birth year. The tool shows you how much your benefits will be reduced or increased if you take payments before or after your FRA.

In the meantime, here is the rundown of when most people start receiving retirement benefits (according to 2019 SSA statistics), and how signing up at each age impacts your payout.

Age 62: This is the earliest you can sign up for Social Security and the most popular age to start taking benefits. Around 29% of women and 26% of men signed up for Social Security at age 62. If you sign up at this age, your payments will be 25% lower if your FRA is 66 and 30% lower if your FRA is 67.

Age 63: About 6% of all workers start drawing benefits at this age. Monthly payments are reduced if you sign up at age 63, but by a smaller amount than if you claim at age 62. A worker with an FRA of 66 will see his or her benefits reduced by 20% by signing up at age 63. Workers with an FRA of 67 will receive 25% less.

Age 64: Around 7.1% of women and about 6% of men claim benefits at age 64. Social Security payments are reduced by 13.3% for those with an FRA of 66, and 20% for people whose FRA is 67.

Age 65: This is the FRA for people born before 1938 and the enrollment age for Medicare. Around 10.5% of workers begin their retirement benefits at age 65. By starting at this age, you will see your monthly payments reduced by 6.7% if your FRA is 66, and by 13.3% if it is 67.

Age 66: This is the FRA for people born between 1943 and 1954. If you fit into this age group, you are eligible to claim unreduced Social Security benefits. Nearly 29% of men and 22% of women sign up for benefits at age 66. If your FRA is 67, you will receive 6.7% less if you sign up at age 66.

Age 67: People born in 1960 or later will be able to claim unreduced Social Security payments starting at age 67. Individuals born between 1943 and 1954 will receive an 8% increase if they wait to claim their benefits at age 67.

Age 68: Those with an FRA of 66 will receive 16% more if they claim Social Security payments at age 68, while those with an FRA of 67 will receive an 8% increase.

Age 69: Those with an FRA of 66 will receive a 24% boost in benefits by waiting until age 69. While those with an FRA of 67 will increase their benefits by 16%.

Age 70 and older: Waiting to receive Social Security payments until age 70 offers the biggest possible payout. Around 7.2% of women and 5% of men sign up at this age. Those with an FRA of 66 can increase their benefits by 32%, while those with an FRA of 67 will receive a 24% increase. After age 70, there is no additional increase for delaying your payments.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 16, 2021
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