As of 2015, those who apply to receive retirement benefits at the age of 62 only receive up to 75 percent of calculated social security benefits per year. Those who retire at full retirement age (this age is based on year of birth) receive 100 percent of the benefit amount.
The amount a person receives in social security benefits is calculated by first determining that person's Averaged Indexed Monthly Earnings, an earnings average based on the highest earning years over a 35-year period, divided by the number of months included within that 35-year period. The social security benefit formula is applied to this average to determine the Primary Insurance Amount, or the amount of retirement benefits.
The reduced amount per year received when a person retires at the age of 62 is permanent because benefits are therefore released 48 months earlier than the full retirement age. Those who retire at the age of 70 may receive up to 32 percent more than the calculated amount based on standard retirement age because of additional earnings.
Husbands and wives who, at the age of 62, claim the social security benefits of a spouse only receive up to 35 percent of the total calculated amount. Those who wait until the full retirement age receive 50 percent of benefits.