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When is the earliest age I can receive Social Security benefits?

That depends on the type of benefit you are applying for.

Retired workers and their spouses can receive benefits as early as age 62. 

Widows and widowers can receive survivor benefits as early as age 60 (50 if they are also disabled).

Disabled workers can receive benefits at any age.

Dependent children also can begin receiving benefits at any age if they qualify.

Parents who were financially dependent on a son or daughter who dies can collect survivor benefits from age 62.

Claiming age affects amounts

Retirement, spousal and survivor benefits are reduced if taken at the earliest age, or at any time before full retirement age (FRA). That milestone currently differs depending on the type of benefit:

  • For retirees and spouses, FRA is 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956 and will gradually increase to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. 
  • For survivor benefits, full retirement age arrives on the claimant's 66th birthday. 

Keep in mind

  • Full retirement age for survivor benefits is also set to rise to 67, but at a different pace than for retirement and spouse benefits.
  • The minimum claiming ages for spouses, widows and widowers also apply to divorced former spouses of retired or deceased workers.

Updated March 7, 2022