Can You Retire Early and Get a Full SS?


Quick Answer

Those who retire early receive reduced Social Security benefits, reports the Social Security Administration. People get full benefits only by retiring at full retirement age. If people retire after full retirement age, they receive delayed retirement credits that increase benefits.

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Can You Retire Early and Get a Full SS?
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Full Answer

People can retire as early as age 62, but they lose a percentage of their benefits for every month they retire before full retirement age, according to the SSA. For those born in 1937 or earlier, full retirement age is 65, for those born between 1943 and 1954 it is 66, and for those born in 1960 or later it is 67. For those born between these dates, full retirement age is measured in increments of months. For instance, someone eligible for a full retirement benefit of $1000 per month at age 67 who retires at age 62 receives 30 percent less, or only $700 per month.

If people delay retirement past their full retirement age, benefits continue to increase by percentage until they reach age 70, when the increases stop, states the SSA. Those born in 1960 or later who retire at age 70 receive 124 percent of their full Social Security benefit. The Social Security Administration estimates that whether people choose early, full or late retirement, the total benefits paid out over a lifetime remain about the same. The best age to begin collecting benefits depends on the retiree's estimated lifespan, family history of longevity and overall retirement plans, reports CNN Money.

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