As of 2014, the earliest age to collect social security retirement benefits is 62. However, benefits collected at this age are lower than the amount available to individuals who wait until the full retirement age.
Full retirement age is between the ages of 65 and 67, depending on the year in which the person was born. If people collect social security at age 62, the benefits are approximately 30 percent lower than if they wait until full retirement age. Those who delay their retirement past the full retirement age, receive higher benefits.
A widow or widower can start collecting survivors benefits at age 60 without any reduction.