What is the Best Age to Receive Social Security Benefits?

February 15, 2020

Timing is the most important element of retirement planning, so when should you begin taking Social Security benefits? Sometimes the timing is out of your hands. If your health or other issues necessitate an early exit from the workforce, your planning is likely to be affected. In a perfect world, however, your decision to put off collecting Social Security benefits can provide you with a more comfortable retirement in your golden years.

Full Retirement Age

Your full retirement age is the age at which you can collect full retirement benefits through Social Security. In the past, you could begin collecting at age 62, with full retirement benefits available if you began collecting at 65. This still applies to those born before 1937.

Changes have been instituted to shore up Social Security for the future; one of those changes relates to the age at which benefits may be collected. Now, depending on your birth year, you may begin collecting benefits as early as age 62, with full retirement age kicking in at 67.

Collecting Early Reduces Benefits

If your full retirement age is 67, the following shows your benefit reduction by age at which you start collecting:

  • At age 62: 30 percent
  • At age 63: 25 percent
  • At age 64: 20 percent
  • At age 65: 13.3 percent
  • At age 66: 6.7 percent

Just as collecting benefits early reduces the amount in your monthly check, putting off collecting beyond your full retirement age can significantly increase your benefit. Waiting a year beyond full retirement age may increase your benefits up to 108 percent, while waiting four years may translate to an increase of 132 percent. After age 70, there is no increased benefit to waiting to collect.

Working While Collecting Benefits

One way to supplement your income is to return to work, perhaps part time. However, earnings may affect your Social Security. During the years before you reach full retirement age, if you are collecting early benefits and you exceed the annual earnings limit, every additional $2 you earn means a $1 reduction from your Social Security check. The year in which you reach retirement age, earnings after your annual earnings limit will be reduced by $1 for every $3 earned until the month you reach full retirement age. Even if you are receiving benefits, your earnings will still be offset by taxes for Social Security and Medicare.


Health insurance is one factor that often influences the decision to put off retirement. Medicare eligibility begins at age 65. Assuming your job provides health care, if you wait until at least age 65 to stop working, you will save on health care costs.

Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Assist Seniors with Retirement Planning

There is a lot involved when you plan for retirement. An experienced attorney with knowledge of Social Security benefits can help you decide when you should start collecting your benefits. The Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can help you plan for a comfortable retirement. Contact us online or call us at 212-495-8133 for an initial consultation. Located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.