Full Retirement Age
What age is full retirement for Social Security?
The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960 until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
Social Security rules change significantly after you reach full retirement age (FRA). Here are some of the key changes you should be aware of:
No Earnings Limit
One of the biggest changes is that there is no longer an earnings limit once you reach your full retirement age. This means that you can earn as much as you want without your Social Security benefits being reduced. However, if you start taking benefits before your full retirement age and earn more than the earnings limit, your benefits will be reduced.
Increased Benefit Amount
Your Social Security benefits will also increase if you delay taking them until after your full retirement age. For every year you delay taking benefits beyond your full retirement age, your benefit amount will increase by a certain percentage, up to age 70. For example, if your full retirement age is 66 and you delay taking benefits until age 70, your monthly benefit amount will be 32% higher than if you had started taking benefits at your full retirement age.
Spousal benefits can be another important factor to consider after reaching full retirement age. If you are married, your spouse may be eligible for spousal benefits based on your earnings record. These benefits can provide up to 50% of your monthly benefit amount, depending on your age and the age at which your spouse started receiving benefits. However, if your spouse takes spousal benefits before their own full retirement age, their benefits may be reduced.
Survivor benefits are also affected by your full retirement age. If your spouse passes away and they were eligible for Social Security benefits, you may be eligible for survivor benefits. To be eligible, you must be at least 60 years old (or 50 if disabled) and have been married to the deceased individual for at least 9 months (or 10 years if divorced). If you take survivor benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits may be reduced.
The tax treatment of Social Security benefits also changes after your full retirement age. If your income exceeds a certain threshold, your Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax. However, the income thresholds are higher after your full retirement age, so you may be able to earn more income without affecting your benefits
Finally, there are some claiming strategies that are only available after reaching full retirement age. For example, if you are married, you may be eligible for a restricted application, which allows you to claim spousal benefits while delaying your own retirement benefits. This strategy can help maximize your overall benefit amount.
Reaching full retirement age is an important milestone in your Social Security journey, and there are several changes to the rules and benefits that you should be aware of. You can earn as much as you want without affecting your benefits, your benefit amount will increase if you delay taking benefits, spousal and survivor benefits are affected by your full retirement age, taxes are treated differently, and there are some claiming strategies that are only available after reaching full retirement age. By understanding these changes, you can make informed decisions about when to start taking Social Security benefits and how to maximize your overall benefit amount.