Full retirement age, or FRA, is the age when you are entitled to 100 percent of your Social Security benefits, which are determined by your lifetime earnings. It is gradually increasing, from 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956 to 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957 and, ultimately, 67 for people born in 1960 or later.
Those dates apply to the retirement benefits you earned from working and to spousal benefits, which your husband or wife can collect on your work record. They differ slightly for survivor benefits, which you can claim if your spouse dies. Full retirement age for survivors is 66 and 2 months for people born in 1957 and gradually increases to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later.
Keep in mind
- Claiming benefits before full retirement age will lower your monthly payments; the earlier you file — you can start at age 62 — the greater the reduction in benefits. Spousal and survivor benefits are also reduced if you claim them before reaching full retirement age.
- You can increase your retirement benefits by waiting past your FRA to retire. Each month you put off filing up to age 70 earns you delayed retirement credits that boost your eventual benefit.