When to Claim Your Social Security Benefits
En español | One of the most important decisions you'll have to make about Social Security is choosing when to begin receiving your benefits. Can you afford to "retire early" and claim benefits at age 62? Or should you wait until your full retirement age, which depending on your birth year would be age 66 or 67? Or, another option: Can you manage to wait until age 70 in order to receive the largest possible monthly benefit?
The longer you're able to wait to begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the higher your monthly benefits will be. For instance, if your full retirement age is 66 and your monthly benefit at that time is $1,000, retiring early by claiming benefits at age 62 would result in a check of about $750 a month, which is a 25 percent reduction. (Making such a choice is usually a permanent reduction in your monthly benefit, which will only increase due to cost-of-living adjustments, even when you reach your full retirement age.) However, in this example, waiting until age 70 to claim Social Security would result in a monthly benefit of $1,320.
Use the AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator above to evaluate the pros and cons of claiming your Social Security at varying ages.