Individuals born in 1949 reach full retirement age at 66 years old, states the Social Security Administration. Age 66 is also the full retirement age for individuals who qualify for survivor benefits. Age 62 is the earliest a person can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits, as of June 2015.
The earlier a person begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the less he receives. For example, individuals born in 1949 who elect to receive their retirement benefits beginning at age 62 receive 75 percent of the full monthly benefit, as explained by the Social Security Administration. Beneficiaries who elect to start receiving benefits at age 65 receive 93.3 percent of their monthly benefit.